The Nerazzurri are in fine form domestically, winning each of their five games this season. They are hence in the perfect momentum to endure a tough away trip to Camp Nou on Wednesday.
Last season, Inter could not make the top-two in a group that comprised Barcelona, Tottenham and PSV Eindhoven. The onus will be on Conte as the Serie A giants look to make the knockouts for the first time after the 2011/12 season.
The Italian manager won the Serie A with Juventus thrice in a row starting from the 2011/12 season. He laid the foundation for their domestic dominance that is still intact, as evidenced by their eighth league title in a row last season. He also won the Supercoppa Italiana in two of those seasons. Naturally, Conte was named the Serie A Best Coach of the year thrice during his stint at Juventus.
The Italian boss then enjoyed two years with the Italian National team before a defeat to Germany in the quarter-final of the 2016 Euros concluded his term.
Conte then switched to the Premier League and won the title in his first season with Chelsea. In the same period, he had brought about a huge change in England’s top flight with his three-man defensive system. The teams were finding it hard to tackle the Blues and some teams such as Arsenal and Spurs also tried replicating the same.
However, the 50-year-old has had very little luck at the European level. With Juventus, he could only make the quarter-final in the 2012/13 edition. Bayern Munich emerged 4-0 victors in what was clearly a one-sided affair.
With Chelsea, Conte was eliminated in the first knockout round after Lionel Messi inspired Barcelona to a 4-1 aggregate win in the 2017/18 season.
The Italian manager now has an able Inter side capable of making a name for itself in Europe. The draw has not been kind to the Italian side, but it helps their case that Barcelona are not in great dynamics.
The Spanish giants are fifth in the La Liga table and are likely to miss Messi for this crucial tie. Conte has the opportunity to become the first manager to inflict a home defeat on Barcelona in the Champions League in over five years.
This could further help him make a strong case for why Inter can make a mark in Europe this season