APPIANO GENTILE - Inter return to the pitch for their first match at San Siro in 2020 after last week’s win over Napoli, with Atalanta arriving on Saturday at 20:45 CET. With just one day until the game - which will also be the final match of the first half of the Serie A season - Antonio Conte met with journalists in the press room of the Suning Training Centre: “The game with Atalanta is a very big one, because Gasperini’s side are a strong team who are in the best shape in the league. They’re doing well, they’ve been growing for years thanks to the work of their coach, who I know well: they’re working hard and improving even in the small details, their path of growth is a very important one and they’re great to watch. This Atalanta side is stronger than last season, because of all this I’m expecting a very intense game, physically too.
“This match at San Siro presents a good test for us because they’re a difficult team to face. We’re happy with how we’re doing, we’re also working hard to bring a high level of intensity and pressure throughout the match, they’re ahead of us from this point of view but we’re preparing well.
“We’ll need a great performance, during which we’ll have to ask a lot of ourselves: we’ll have to go above and beyond our potential. At the end of this game, with the first half of the season at an end, we’ll be able to take stock for the first time and understand where we can improve and where we can end up. But we’ll continue on the path we’re on and look to make the fans happy.
“The gap with the other teams? In theory it should have increased, but the newcomers have integrated themselves well, they fit in straight away. Furthermore, those who were already here have taken responsibility. It takes time to build a great team, no one has a magic wand. But we’re doing positive things. That’s because we’re growing in all areas, the stronger you are on the pitch, the stronger you become off it too. This group is growing in terms of responsibility.
“The month of the transfer window is a strange one, you have to be intelligent and understand that there can be a lot of voices which you should simply ignore, even ones which aren’t true at all. You need to keep working without wasting any energy on this. I’d certainly like to say a big welcome back to Ibrahimovic, he’s a person I respect, who will take responsibility in the environment in which he’s arrived.”