Conte: ‘Cannot compare with last season’

Antonio Conte insists the 2-2 draw with Borussia Monchengladbach ‘cannot compare’ with last season’s poor Champions League start.

Last year, the Nerazzurri began their campaign with a home stalemate against Slavia Prague and never quite recovered, finishing third in their group.

“We cannot compare this game with last season’s draw against Slavia Prague. That was a real slip-up, whereas tonight we did well against a team with a great deal of potential, that has technical quality as well as physicality,” the coach told Sky Sport Italia.

“I don’t remember a Samir Handanovic save, whereas we had the chances to win the game. I have nothing to reproach the lads for.

“Inevitably, we can improve in some situations where there are errors and we have to work on whittling those down.”

Christian Eriksen was given a rare start due to the injury and illness crisis in the squad, which culminated in Achraf Hakimi pulling out with COVID just hours before kick-off.

“Like the whole team, Eriksen had a good game. We asked him to be more decisive on the ball, and I think he did well, as did all the lads,” Conte told Sky Sport Italia.

“We have to concentrate on doing our best on the pitch. That’s all we have to do. It wasn’t easy today to receive the news at 5pm that Hakimi was positive. Up until this morning, he was training with us, he was meant to start, so we’d prepared all the tactical situations.

“I told the lads to face every situation with heads held high. It wasn’t easy on a psychological level, but the lads showed they are good men as well as good players.”

Inter fell away in the closing stages and conceded the goal to go 2-1 down when a through ball was not cut out.

“I think we could do very little with the bench today. Alessandro Bastoni had two training sessions after COVID, Marcelo Brozovic had a muscular problem and Stefano Sensi wasn’t available. Radja Nainggolan had a training session yesterday for the first time.”

Alexis Sanchez started rather than Lautaro Martinez, but he went off at half-time, reportedly with a muscular issue.

“Sanchez needs to be evaluated by the medical staff. Sometimes you need to interpret with Alexis and figure out what’s going on, but we’ll see tomorrow what the situation is.”


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