Inter Milan manager Antonio Conte has urged Achraf Hakimi to brace up for a new challenge in Italy, explaining the expectations in the country are higher than the Bundesliga and the Premier League.
The wing-back spent two seasons with German side Borussia Dortmund on loan from Real Madrid and delivered spectacular performances.
The Morocco international then teamed up with the San Siro outfit permanently in the summer following eye-catching displays in Germany.
The utility player has only started five games in nine league appearances for the Black and Blues and played three matches in the Champions League since his arrival.
Ahead of Inter’s Champions League clash against Borussia Monchengladbach on Tuesday night, Conte has urged the 22-year-old to improve on his defensive skills.
“I never like to talk about individuals. Hakimi has important potential, but he has to work a lot especially in the defensive phase,” Conte said in a pre-match press conference.
“In Italy, there are much higher pressures and expectations than other leagues such as the German or the English one.”
Inter Milan are currently bottom of Group B in the European competition with only two points from four games.
The San Siro outfit must now win their clash against Group B leaders Borussia Monchengladbach to boost their chances of progressing in the tournament.
Conte blamed his side’s current position on the log to the new arrivals in the club, who he believed are yet to fully settle in the team.
“I repeat a very simple speech: we found ourselves playing official matches with many new players like Hakimi, Kolarov, Vidal, who needed to work together, play friendly games, and instead we threw them into the fray with the appropriate risks,” he continued.
“You find balance by playing, understanding the characteristics of the players. And the players must understand a different set-up than they were used to.”
Hakimi will hope to make his 12th appearance across all competitions for Inter against Borussia Monchengladbach.