(Reuters) - Inter Milan’s win over champions Juventus in January made the players believe they can win the club’s first Serie A title in 11 years this season, coach Antonio Conte said on Wednesday.
Inter have won five league matches in a row to go four points clear of AC Milan at the top of the table and seven ahead of champions Juve in third.
Conte, who won three consecutive Serie A titles as Juve coach at the start of their run of nine consecutive triumphs, led Inter to the runners-up spot in his debut season last year, finishing one point behind his former employers.
But he thinks the 2-0 victory at San Siro on Jan. 17 was crucial to Inter's hopes of claiming a first Scudetto since 2009-10.
"This year we have beaten the team that has won for the last nine years and would like to win it again," Conte told a news conference ahead of Thursday’s game at Parma.
“I think that’s important, also because last season they beat us home and away, consolidating their dominance.
"That win gave us self-esteem and awareness. After a year and a half together, you must develop individually and collectively in your mentality and determination.
"There are 14 matches left, we must demonstrate that we have developed and there’s only one way to do that: by winning the Scudetto."
Inter are the leading scorers in Serie A this season with 60 goals in 24 games, but Conte believes they can do better.
"We can improve with our efficiency in front of goal because we create a lot of chances to score with the whole team, not just the strikers. We need to be more clinical," he said.
Inter will be overwhelming favourites against 19th-placed Parma, as Roberto D’Aversa’s side are without a win in 16 games in all competitions, but Conte isn’t taking the challenge lightly.
"I’m expecting a difficult match, they’ve always created problems for us and we’ve had only one win and two draws against them since I’ve been here," Conte said.
“At the moment they’re in a bad place in the standings, but they have experience and quality, a great coach and therefore they require great attention."
(Reporting by Alasdair Mackenzie, editing by Ed Osmond)