Serie A TIM

CONTE: "NAPOLI ARE A STRONG SIDE, WE'RE ALWAYS LOOKING TO RAISE OUR LEVEL"

There are just two games to go until the end of the league season. After their win against Genoa, Inter will return to action at 21:45 CEST on Tuesday for their final home match of the campaign in Serie A TIM. Gattuso’s Napoli side will be the visitors to San Siro, with the Nerazzurri and the Partenopei set to meet for the fourth time this season. These are Antonio Conte’s thoughts on the eve of the match:

An unusual season where games have been played every three days will come to an end soon.
“This has certainly been and is a new experience for everyone. However, you need to take a positive view and draw lessons from situations like this. Playing every three days has resulted in some positive insights that can be used in the future.”

One of the positive aspects is the fact that the players who hadn’t played a lot previously have shown their professionalism and readiness to play when called upon: Borja Valero or Ranocchia, for example.
“This is a very professional group of guys. They are very focused and have always worked hard. Ronocchia has always responded positively when called upon. Credit must go to these lads: they’ve always shown their readiness even when they haven’t been selected. They’ve trained in a serious manner, like true professionals. I have no doubts: from a human perspective, this is an excellent group.”

This will be Inter’s fourth encounter with Napoli this season. In the Coppa Italia, the Nerazzurri were just missing that bit of luck, while Inter put in one of their best performances of the season at the San Paolo in the league. Is this a correct assessment?
“We certainly put in a good performance in the league. In certain respects, however, the Coppa Italia return leg was the best we’ve played against Napoli this season, and we definitely deserved more. Napoli are a very strong side who have always done their utmost to cause concern for the eventual Scudetto winners over the years. They’ve got an excellent squad, one which has been strengthened considerably. They also won the Coppa Italia.”

Gagliardini will be out through suspension but Barella will be back. Could Sensi also be back in time? When might he make his return to the team, also in terms of the Europa League?
“In midfield this year it’s been the case that one player coming back has coincided with another becoming unavailable. Sensi’s making progress, but it’s difficult to make any predictions at this point about when he’ll be back. He won’t be back in training with us by the end of the week, so that means the end of the league campaign. What’s important is that he’s doing well and that he’ll soon be able to put this year behind him. It’s been an extremely unfortunate one for him and that’s been costly for us.”

Against Genoa, Lukaku scored a stunning goal not just in terms of technique, but also in terms of invention and energy considering it was the 93rd minute. He never ceases to amaze, but you’ve said that the Belgian still has room to improve...
“Romelu is a player with room for improvement: in some situations he can and must improve. Just as I said after the game, we’re talking about a unique kind of player, because despite his size, his strength, his height and his role as a target man up top, he’s also quick, and when he’s got green grass ahead of him he’s got the athletic ability to score a goal like he did. It’s all up to him, just like any other player, and his desire to get better. He’s got room to improve, but what’s important is that each of us has that desire and hunger to raise our own level and grow more and more.”

 

(Photo Getty Images)

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