APPIANO GENTILE – Today marks the eve of matchday seven in the league for Inter, who are in the process of preparing for the clash against Gasperini's Atalanta. The match is scheduled for tomorrow at 15:00 CET at the Gewiss Stadium. Antonio Conte took questions from the media at the Suning Training Center this afteroon and had the following to say:
After Madrid you are facing another complicated fixture against Atalanta. How are you going into it?
"We’re going into it like the other teams. It’s our seventh match in 20 days: clearly there is a bit of tiredness, but there is also the desire to play a good game. We will try to make the right judgements to understand who is more and less fatigued and to manage this kind of situation over the course of 90 minutes."
How is the mood after the game against Madrid? Will Lukaku be in Bergamo?
"The mood is what it should be. Lukaku has trained with us today, so he will most likely be called up for the match against Atalanta."
Last year against Atalanta, you played one of your best games of the season. How will you approach it now?
"Last year, we did very well in several games. Facing Atalanta is never easy, they are a great team put together by an exceptionally good coach who has given them credibility over the years. They put constant pressure on whoever’s on the ball and they are good offensively, so it’s not easy to face them. We’ll need a great performance to bring home the points from Bergamo."
Is there any concern about Inter’s league position?
"We have to carry on down our path. If we deserve it, it’s only right that our position improves, so it depends on what we do."
A few weeks ago, you said you’d prefer a 5-4 over a 0-0. What would be your preference for tomorrow, considering that in recent games Inter have been prone to bringing home less than they’ve deserved?
"Usually, good performances mean we earn the three points, so I don't need to think about playing badly to get them: usually you win by playing well."
You've often been close to getting results. How do you achieve that little bit more to secure a good result?
"For now, that extra little bit is missing. We still have to work hard, we need to try our best to remove those little errors that can prove decisive."
Atalanta vs. Inter and Torino vs. Crotone tomorrow are the first games that will take place in red zones. Is this particular period taking its toll on the teams and matches?
"It goes without saying that everything is affecting the game. In comparison to before, we have been hit hard, both the players and their families. When we train, we have to take everything into account. The situation is difficult for everyone, but we must carry on as we are. On top of the sporting aspect, there’s the human aspect, which cannot be overlooked, making it a difficult job for those who have to manage these situations."
How does the management of matches change with five substitutions available to you?
"You also need to see if you have all the players available to make the changes. If the entire squad is available, you can decide what to do according to your strategy for the game. But the strategy cannot be implemented if the players are not available due to COVID-19, or if they have come back from 20/25 days out or have been injured. If this is the case, it is difficult to put these things into practice."