MILAN - Antonio Conte’s Inter side didn’t slip up during their first Coppa Italia test on Tuesday evening, as the Nerazzurri defeated Cagliari 4-1 to cruise through to the quarter-finals. A brace from Lukaku made the difference at San Siro, with Borja Valero and Ranocchia also getting on the scoresheet.
“I’m really pleased, it was a great response from the lads,” said the Coach after the game. “Even from those who’ve played less of late and those who were coming back from injury. I’m happy for Barella, who is recovering after his injury and he was one of our starters today, as was Sanchez. He is an important player for us and slowly he’ll get back to his best. I’m also pleased for Borja Valero, who proved himself once again today, as well as Lazaro, Dimarco and Ranocchia, who haven’t had many chances so far but all played really well.
“There’s real harmony among this group, they are a great bunch of lads that want to do well. I’m really pleased to be working with them. We rounded off an important first half of the season in the league, picking up 46 points despite our difficulties and they have now left us in a strong position. The second half of the campaign won’t be easy but we’ve started on our journey and we want to keep growing, maintaining the right amount of patience to bring everything together.”
As for individual performances, Conte concluded by saying: “You know that I don’t like to talk too much about individuals. Romelu is proving his worth and he can still keep improving. As can Lautaro, Esposito and Sanchez. The most important thing is the willingness that these lads show - they latched on to the type of football that we want to play right from the off. There’s still room for improvement, particularly in terms of our pressing, however, we’re working on it and I take comfort in having such a receptive group.”