APPIANO GENTILE - Inter are currently putting in the final preparations to get back on the pitch for matchday 31 in Serie A, as the Nerazzurri face Juric’s Hellas Verona this Thursday at 21:45 CEST. With one day left until the match, Antonio Conte gave his pre-match thoughts in an exclusive interview with Inter TV: “We’re putting the game against Bologna behind us and preparing for the game against Verona. In times like these, the fact that our next game is so soon is actually a positive, because we’ll certainly still be feeling a bit of bitterness and disappointment, but at the same time you have to focus on your next match, which in this case is a big fixture against a very strong side in Hellas Verona. We’re preparing for this game like any other, looking to get to know the smallest details about our opponents: their strengths, their weaknesses, where we’ll have to excel and where we’ll have to be more careful. It’s important that all of our players know full well what sort of game we’re going to be playing.”
On the opposition: “They’re team who are having a great campaign, one of the surprises of the season. The coach is well prepared, they’ve got some great and interesting guys in their squad and one of their strengths as a side is also their physicality. We’ll have to play well and be prepared to respond to each one of their blows from every angle: technically, tactically, physically and athletically.
Skriniar will be back for the game at the Bentegodi, while D’Ambrosio and Bastoni will both miss the game through suspension, adding to the list of absentees through injury: “Playing at these temperatures with so many games so close together, and fighting for three points every time, it’s inevitable that you’ll pay a price in terms of injuries. At times you decide not to risk things because you’re scared of losing a player for several games, but personally I’ve got complete faith in all of my players, so I’m happy to give everyone minutes because I know that these chances will be repaid in performances, attitude, desire and determination.”
The 21:45 CEST kick-off time will mean lower temperatures but a late-night return home for the squad: “These are factors which we’re getting used to dealing with, we’re adapting to these situations. It’s inevitable that when you play this late, especially away from home and return late at night, there’s not a lot of time to rest and recover, but we know that we have to deal with these kinds of situations and look to do so in the best way possible.”
The reverse fixture finished 2-1 thanks to a comeback started by Vecino and finished off by Barella: “I remember the reverse fixture well, we went a goal behind, then there was a brilliant reaction on our part. We played well, creating plenty of chances and winning thanks to Nicolò’s goal at the end. The first game was evidence that we’re going to be up against a very strong side. We’ll have to be extremely careful, but at the same time we want to get a result.”
Inter have an excellent away record, having racked up a total of 32 points on the road: “We're trying to cultivate a mentality where we don't even think about whether we’re playing at home or away, and where regardless of whether we’re on home turf or we’re the visitors, there’s always a strong desire to win the game. This is vital for any team that wants to control the game.”
Since the Serie A restart, no side has scored more goals than Inter in Serie A, with Inter and Sassuolo both scoring 14 so far. The Nerazzurri have recorded the highest average ball possession (61.8%) and have played the most passes in the opposition area, with an average of 38 per match: “We always make sure to take a good look at the statistics, because there’s always an explanation behind the data. These figures are certainly promising, and they’re testament to the fact that every time we step out onto the pitch, we look to set the tempo and dominate the game. What's more, the fact that Inter are one of the top sides in the league when it comes to creating chances in the opposition area shows that we've put in some excellent performances, but at the end of the day, we’ve got to make sure that these performances are translated into good results.”