Inter reacted really well and turned the game around to take home all three points - deservedly so. The Nerazzurri beat Cagliari 3-1 at the Sardegna Arena with a second-half fight-back and goals from Barella, D’Ambrosio and Lukaku.
Here’s what Antonio Conte had to say on the game:
“Really well done to the boys because we went a goal down in spite of a great first-half performance and numerous chances created. They were brilliant today; it wasn’t easy to remain calm in that situation. The victory is deservedly theirs.”
Did you fear that it would end like Wednesday’s game?
“A coach always needs to be concerned when his team isn’t creating anything, but we created a lot. Though it’s normal to get a bit anxious when it’s not going in, both because of our own imprecision and a brilliant performance from the opposition goalkeeper. Cragno was the best player on the pitch, but the boys believed right up to the end and showed they wanted to win at all costs.”
What are your thoughts on Eriksen’s performance?
“I don’t like to focus too much on individuals, especially after a brilliant team performance. We went behind but - in spite of the disappointment from Wednesday - got back into the game and won.”
Did you see the determination that you asked of your players in midweek?
“There are two aspects of this game to consider. The first is that we created a lot on the basis of what we prepared during the week. Then there was the lads’ determination after going a goal down. We overcame the obstacle and I’m really happy with their reaction because the boys still had the Shakhtar games on their minds. They were all brilliant in coming from behind, when they didn’t deserve to be behind. We’ll continue on this path and continue to work hard and improve.”
You made tactical changes when the going got tough. Is that your plan B?
“I was only joking; every coach has a plan B and puts that into practice as and when required. It’s inevitable that you will need to make wholesale changes during a game at some point. For that reason, it’s essential to have all of your players available to you because the situation is often complicated when you have a few absences.”
How much do you see yourself in Barella?
“Nicolò is a young player with a lot of talent. He sometimes needs to be a bit more disciplined; he has so much energy that he tends to be a bit over-exuberant. Be we’re talking about a player that’s been here for two years and is developing really quickly. We have a few top prospects and the job for my staff and I is to raise their game so that we have more players, who are able to leave their mark.”
Inter have picked up more points from losing positions than any other team. What’s your take on that?
“If you take a blow like we did today, you can only ever compliment the boys. They scored a great goal with their first shot on target. There wasn’t anything specific missing defensively, so having the strength to turn it around shows that the boys want to fight and won’t give up in the face of trouble.”
(Photo Getty Images)