Conte: ‘Inter had Juve on the ropes’

Antonio Conte insists Inter ‘had Juventus on the ropes’ in the Coppa Italia semi-final and paid for two ‘naïve errors,’ but takes another sideswipe at the club’s financial problems.

The Nerazzurri had taken the lead through Lautaro Martinez, but a penalty for Ashley Young’s shirt tug on Juan Cuadrado and Cristiano Ronaldo pouncing on a defensive howler turned it around.

“Basically, we did everything ourselves,” an irritated Conte told RAI Sport.

“Juventus made the most of two naïve errors to score their goals. We need to be more clinical and ruthless, as we created so much and you have to finish those chances against a side like Juventus.

“The performance was excellent, it was just the result that was negative. We had Juve on the ropes, it’s really disappointing, because we deserved much, much, much more than the final result.

“Juventus barely created anything and I don’t remember Samir Handanovic making saves. If we hadn’t made those two mistakes…

“I respect all judgment, but the fact is if we had won this game 2-0, nobody would’ve complained. The final result is what clouds the judgment of the overall performance.”

Romelu Lukaku and Achraf Hakimi were suspended for this first leg, while Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sanchez will sit out bans for the second leg on February 9.

“It’s inevitable that with a 2-1 home defeat, we need to win the second leg there with two goals to spare, so it won’t be a walk in the park.”

Also inevitably, Conte was asked about the financial crisis that Inter are going through, as talks to sell the club to BC Partners break down.

“It’s a strange situation, there’s no point denying it,” replied the coach. “We started out with a project and that project basically froze in August.”

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