APPIANO GENTILE – The final international break of the season is over and the Nerazzurri’s 2020/21 Serie A campaign is set to resume. Up next for Inter is a trip to Bologna, with the upcoming match scheduled for 20:45 CEST on Saturday 3 April at the Dall’Ara. Ahead of the matchday 29 clash, Antonio Conte spoke to the press. This is what he had to say:
20 days on from their last game, Inter will be taking to the pitch to play three matches in nine days…
“Three games in nine days await, it’ll be important to get off to a good start. We’ll have to be very attentive tomorrow against an excellent team with a good coach. Bologna play aggressively and we’ll need to be careful. Everybody’s been back since yesterday and we’re trying to prepare for the match as quickly as possible.”
What message are you passing on to the team as you look to carry on as before?
“The message is to try to pick up where we left off. It’s never easy after an international break, but they’re fully aware that there’s not long to go and we need to resume in the best possible fashion.”
What is the mistake that you can’t afford to make?
“Speaking out of turn. We need to mind our own business, stay quiet and pedal.”
After the last international break, there were various Covid outbreaks. Has the football world done everything possible to limit this problem?
“It’s difficult to make observations. With hindsight, we could have done better, but we know that Covid has been destroying us for a year. The football world has decided to adjust to this situation, as we’re doing in our daily lives. I hope that it’ll be resolved as soon as possible.”
You’ve made fewer changes to the team recently, but now a fair few matches are coming up in the space of a few days after the international break. Is it the right time to rotate again?
“I have resources and will be aiming to make the most of them as best I can, trying to find the right balance and make the right choices. I coach the players as if they were all going to take to the pitch. This means that they’re all ready to do their duty should they be called upon.
Inter recorded eight consecutive wins before the international break. Did you expect this? What have you done to make the team reach these levels?
“We’ve been aiming for stability and consistency in our results. We’ve done well to go on this winning run. I hope that it doesn’t come to an end against Bologna, a team that will want to use all of their strengths to stop us. We’ve reached this point through hard work and trying to make improvements. We’ve looked at eliminating our flaws and enhancing our qualities.”
There’s the feeling that the future depends on you. Will you feel added pressure as a result?
“As I’ve always said, there must always be pressure when you play for Inter, a Club which has been used to experiencing these situations in the past. We need to deal with the circumstances in the right way. I understand that there are many who are experiencing this situation for the first time, but we need to focus on ourselves and try to do our very best. That’s been our way of thinking up to now and it’ll continue to be so.”
How are the players who recently came down with Covid but have now tested negative?
“Samir tested negative quickly and has been able to recover faster than the others. Vecino has been training with us for the last three days and is in good shape, also because our staff have been working with the players while they’ve been at home in the recent period. de Vrij trained for the first time yesterday. Feeling the after-effects is normal, but we’re trying to keep them all in a good condition. We also hope to have D’Ambrosio with us as soon as possible because we need everyone.”
How has Sensi been since his return?
“I’m very happy for Stefano because, from a mental point of view, this release was very important. We need everyone from now until the end of the season, and the fact that he’s experienced this is a very positive thing for us.”