NEWS
Saturday November 23 2019
Conte: 'Happiest with clean sheet'

Antonio Conte was “happiest with the clean sheet” as Inter won 3-0 away to Torino, but hopes Nicolò Barella’s knee injury is not serious.

This was the Nerazzurri’s seventh consecutive away victory in Serie A, setting a new club record.

“The thing that makes me happiest is the clean sheet,” the coach told DAZN.

“It was a good defensive performance and that is very important, because we know that we score sooner or later. If we can be more hermetically sealed at the back, then we can be in good shape.”

Barella limped off with a sprained right knee just before half-time, making way for Borja Valero, but more tests are needed to see if there is ligament damage.

“We want to look at the positives, as Borja Valero came on for the second half, showing great professionalism, focus and respect over the last four months, waiting for his moment. That means a lot to a coach, knowing there’s someone who can be relied upon.

“I’ve been a player, I know it’s not easy to keep training and wait for your chance. He had a great second half and I am also very happy with Federico Dimarco’s performance coming off the bench.

“I really hope Barella doesn’t have anything particularly serious, because he has grown exponentially over the last four months, is a very important player for us and we can only hope the test results aren’t too bad.”

Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku were again on target, but Conte and director Beppe Marotta continue to suggest the need for reinforcements in January.

“This season, three important players like Mauro Icardi, Radja Nainggolan and Ivan Perisic went away, but we could pocket a pretty impressive transfer war chest with those departures.

“The emergency situation continues, but we can only thank our lads for all their efforts. They are really sacrificing themselves and can see the fruits of their labour.

“These are two young lads in their early 20s and have at least another six or seven years at the top level to grow together. I am above all happy with the way they work for the team, create situations and press defenders off the ball.

“It’s not always easy to find strikers who work that hard off the ball, let alone two of them.”

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