After their win against Bologna, Inter are set to return to the pitch to play Sassuolo at San Siro in the rearranged matchday 28 clash between the sides. Ahead of the 18:45 CEST kick-off on Wednesday 7 April, Antonio Conte had the following to say:
What type of match should we expect to see against one of the most interesting teams in our league?
“We’ll be coming up against a team that has its own identity and very precise characteristics. They’ve been working under Roberto De Zerbi for a while now, and he’s an excellent coach. Therefore, we need to be very attentive, show respect but also try to play our game and achieve the maximum once again tomorrow.”
Before the fixture between the sides earlier on in the season, Inter had conceded 13 goals in eight matches, the same number they’ve since gone on to ship in the following 20…
“If you want to be contenders, you usually need to strike a really good balance between the attacking and defensive phases. We conceded a lot of goals at the start of the season and didn’t have the right balance. However, we slowly started making assessments together with the lads in order to find the best formula to not lose anything in attack but, at the same time, add more solidity in defence.”
To what extent will not having a lot of time to recover play a role?
“It’ll affect us just as much as it will Sassuolo. We’re used to playing three or four days on from our last match. Beyond the issue of recovery, I think it’ll be important to show the right enthusiasm and desire because we’re doing important things. However, we need to finish the job.”
No other side covers more distance than Inter in Serie A. Just how important is it to be in the right physical condition in the final part of the season?
“I think that being in the right physical condition is important regardless. Players need to feel in good shape when they play matches. However, the important thing is to run in the right way, both in and out of possession.”
The team have become more clinical compared to the start of the season.
“It’s important to try to make the most of the chances you create. I think we’re the team that create the most opportunities in the opposition area. When there’s the right situation, you need to try to score: if you don’t find the net, the best outcome you can hope for is a draw.”
After the win against Bologna, Lukaku pointed out that he wouldn’t be achieving records without the team. Is putting the collective first the secret to this team’s success?
“Focusing on the collective is the most important thing in all teams because individuals don’t make a team win: it’s the team as a whole that brings out the qualities of individuals. The lads have understood this and are all working in the same direction.”
How much as Lautaro Martinez grown in terms of his off-the-ball work, especially in the defensive phase?
“Lautaro has improved in all aspects, from keeping the ball to attacking in behind. Just like the others, he’s made great strides forward and needs to continue going down this path because, bearing in mind his young age, he’s got a great future ahead of him.”