Conte pleased with Inter in first season despite injuries to players

Antonio Conte pointed to injuries hampering Inter during his first season in charge as they aim to close the gap on leaders Juventus at the top of Serie A.

The Nerazzurri have recorded back-to-back victories to move up to second in the table, six points behind the reigning champions ahead of Sunday’s trip to Roma.

Conte’s side can cut the deficit in half to keep the pressure on Juve, who play Lazio on Monday, though Inter’s Scudetto bid during a truncated campaign has been hurt by key players missing extended periods of time.

Alexis Sanchez has been plagued by injuries since arriving on loan from Manchester United, while Stefano Sensi has figured sparingly in 2020 due to a number of issues, the latest being a pulled thigh muscle.

However, despite having to cope with depleted attacking resources at times, Conte has been pleased how others have seized their opportunities.

“This is something we’ve unfortunately had to deal since the start of the season,” the Inter boss told the club’s website when asked about injuries.

“After a bad injury to Sanchez’s ankle, we were without Alexis for four to five months, while it’s also been a tough year in midfield due to recurring injuries.

“Just thinking about Sensi, he’s a player who we’ve had for so little time, or the bad injuries to (Roberto) Gagliardini and (Nicolo) Barella, (Matias) Vecino too, who has had constant trouble with his knee.

“These are two areas of the pitch that have caused both me and us problems, but looking at the glass as half full, those who have played have shown and are continuing to show big responses.

“I’m talking about players like Gagliardini, (Marcelo) Brozovic and Borja Valero, then we’ve got (Christian) Eriksen, whose settling in. I think that there are definitely positives to be taken.”

Romelu Lukaku was not involved in the 4-0 win over SPAL on Thursday but could return to face Roma, who are in need of points in the battle to finish fifth.

Conte is concerned that those who featured last time out have had little time to recover before the clash at the Stadio Olimpico, though the SPAL performance demonstrated the improvements made by the squad.

“We’re talking about a well-equipped side, a squad full of excellent players and a great coach,” the former Chelsea boss said.

“It’s a very difficult game that arrives just two days after our away game with SPAL, so we’ve had to deal with the travelling and one day less to recover.

“But from a positive point of view, we’re full of enthusiasm after seeing that the work we’re doing is starting to be recognised.”

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