Antonio Conte has been hailed as a better boss than Jose Mourinho and Louis Van Gaal by a former Manchester United star.
Conte’s Inter Milan can this weekend clinch their first Serie A title since 2010 when Mourinho won the Treble.
And Matteo Darmian has claimed the ex-Chelsea boss is “a step ahead” of his strange former Old Trafford coaches.
The Italy defender spent four years in the Premier League from 2015-19 and won the FA Cup, Carabao Cup and the Europa League.
But Darmian, who is on loan at Inter from Parma, revealed: “Van Gaal was an obsessive about rules. He was the one who wanted me at United.
“One of the first days in Manchester he took me aside and said: ‘You are here thanks to me. You have my confidence, you will compete with (Antonio) Valencia, know that the name doesn’t matter to me’. It was like that.”
The Dutchman was sacked despite his FA Cup win in 2016 and replaced by Mourinho.
“He has no other loves apart from winning,” Darmian told Gazzetta dello Sport. “I owe him trophies, even a Europa League.”
By contrast, Darmian enjoys a strong relationship with Conte after playing for the former Italy boss at Euro 2016.
“It was as if I had never left him,” the defender revealed. “He’s tough and has the same desire as then, to get the best out of the team. How has he improved? Tactically. And as a character.”
Asked what Conte has compared to Mourinho and Van Gaal, Darmian added: “He has great ideas, tactically, he’s a step ahead.”
Darmian, now 31, has scored the winner in Inter’s last two victories against Cagliari and Verona to see Conte’s side go 11 points clear with five games to go.
Conte celebrated his side’s victory on Sunday by running up the touchline at the San Siro and said: “It’s easy to explain. In that run, I see the 95% of the scudetto.
“Managing to win this season, means to make this footballer become winners. Never forget the others are dropping points. We have been consistent. Sometimes we suffer a little bit more, but we are keeping our foot on the gas pedal.”
Inter Milan will win their 19th Serie A title this weekend if they beat Crotone and Atalanta do not win against Sassuolo.
The futures of Conte and stars such as Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez are less certain with the Italian club seeking financial help through loans following the pandemic.
President Steven Zhang, who is set to become the first foreign owner to win Serie A, has arrived in Italy for the first time since October last year after travel restrictions stopped him from travelling from China. He plans to hold talks with financiers and Conte, who is under contract until 2022. about next season.