Inter are set to face Bologna tomorrow, with kick-off scheduled for 20:45 CET at San Siro. On the eve of the showdown, Antonio Conte had the following to say when speaking to the press:
What has made you most proud of the team?
“The fact that we haven’t listened to outside voices and only focused on playing and trying to do our best.”
What’s the biggest challenge during a week like this one?
“It’s inevitable that fatigue is an issue: we’ve played four matches in eleven days. We have, however, had an extra day to recover for our match against Bologna compared to our other games. This is undoubtedly the biggest challenge: we have to play important and decisive matches without a lot of time to prepare for them and recuperate.”
Last season’s defeat against Bologna at San Siro was a major setback…
"It was incredible how we lost that game: we were winning 1-0 and were dominating proceedings, and they also went down to ten men. We then missed a penalty and conceded two goals on the counter. It was a match that made me very angry, and it’s difficult to explain what happened. Bologna are determined, strong and play at a good tempo, and they’ve had a week to prepare for the match. We need to be attentive but aim for continuity as we go down our path.”
Inter have gone behind in each of their first four home matches this season. How can this be avoided?
"We need to improve in this respect, even if it’s difficult to speak of home and away fixtures due to there being no fans: while our stadium is our home, the environment is different. That said, we need to try to be better.”
In the last two matches, the team have displayed greater concentration levels than before. Is this more important than anything else?
"Results affect people’s judgements of what we’re doing. That said, we’re trying to improve in every respect, from our tactical organisation through to our spirit, approach and management of games. We work to constantly improve.”
Has Nainggolan recovered?
"He hasn’t recovered and therefore won’t be available for tomorrow’s match.”
Will Sensi have the opportunity to play from the first minute? Were you expecting Barella to grow in this manner?
"Barella, like the whole team, also needs to improve. He’s well aware that he has room for improvement and knows what he needs to work on. He’s also aware that he can do this, also because he’s very young. He needs to remain humble and keep in mind that hard work is the only way to grow. Sensi isn’t ready yet.”
In such an even league, the work you put in could make the difference. Does this apply to the physical side of things?
"From a physical point of view, you need to find the right moments to work on this aspect. When you’re playing every three days, it’s difficult to fit it in. We hope that we’ll be in action every three days because it’d mean that we’ve progressed in the competitions we’re involved in. However, we need to do the right amount of physical work relative to how long we’ve got to recover from one game to the next."
(Photo Getty Images)