Stefan de Vrij likes his new nickname and said Inter should be able to talk about the Scudetto, as he praised both Stefano Pioli and Antonio Conte.
De Vrij moved to Inter from Lazio on a free transfer in July 2018 and the 28-year-old played his 100th match in Nerazzurro against Hellas Verona.
The centre-back said he likes his new nickname ‘The Wall’ and is flattered by the comparison to former defender Walter Samuel.
“Yes, I like it,” De Vrij told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “I didn’t have a nickname before in Holland.
“By the way, when I arrived in Milan, I was building a wall in my presentation video. I was lucky enough to speak to Samuel a couple of times at some event.
“He’s a good person and a very strong defender.”
The Dutch defender said the whole team have become ‘more compact’ in recent weeks.
“We have become compact as a team and this makes the whole defensive phase easier,” he continued. “We are a united and close-knit department.
“We also feel good off the pitch and this helps.”
The centre-back has played 100 games for the Nerazzurri and said the most disappointing match so far has been the defeat to Sevilla in the Europa League Final last term.
“Sometimes I think about it, but I immediately thing that it makes no sense to go back there with my head,” he said.
“What has been, has been. We can only learn from defeats.”
The Beneamata were eliminated from Europe this term, finishing bottom in Group B of the Champions League.
“Something in Europe is obviously missing, what we did on the pitch was not enough,” he admitted. “We would have liked to continue in Europe, but now we will try to do well in the Coppa Italia and the League.
“The fact that we are able to concentrate only on this can become an advantage, but it will depend solely on us and only us.
“All worlds are allowed in my vocabulary, even ‘Scudetto’. But just as it’s useless to look to far back, it’s also useless to look too far ahead.
“We are up there, and we want to get to the end. Winning game after game, starting with the next.”
Milan are currently first in Serie A and De Vrij praised his former coach Stefano Pioli.
“They have a good team and many strong players,” De Vrij added. “They seem very united.
“I know the coach very well, I worked with him for two years. He is very good, very human but also very prepared.
“I’m happy with his professional growth.”
But speaking of coaches, there was no shortage of praise for his current tactician Antonio Conte.
“He’s a winner. He pours his own desire on the team and tries to exploit all the potential that each of us has inside.
“He beats on that, transmits passion and mentality. He tells me I’m too good and should be tougher sometimes.
“Thanks to him, I have taken some steps forward. The negativity remains outside the gates because we are united, focused on the target and we forget what’s said about us.”