Saturday December 21 2019
Conte: 'Inter players stepped up'

Antonio Conte believes the emergency situation “brings out the best” in Inter after their 4-0 win over Genoa. “Now we must continue to amaze.”

Romelu Lukaku scored twice, set up another for Roberto Gagliardini and handed the penalty to 17-year-old Sebastiano Esposito, as they dominated despite Lautaro Martinez and Marcelo Brozovic bans.

“We didn’t need to wait until today to see the team had improved in every area. As I said yesterday, the difficulties ensured everyone felt involved and they all stepped up to take responsibility,” the coach told Sky Sport Italia.

This victory ensures they go into the winter break joint top of the Serie A table with Juventus.

“We must never stop doubting our work. If we have 42 points at Christmas, it’s thanks to the work we are doing and the professionalism of these lads who are giving their all for Inter.

“It was a very good performance, despite the many missing players. Some like Roberto Gagliardini were prepared to play despite not being at 100 per cent, because we were in an emergency situation. It makes a coach happy to see players like him, Matias Vecino and Borja Valero push through pain to put the team first.

“If I were to talk about the January transfer window now, it’d show a lack of respect to these lads who are giving their all. We had some problems, but sometimes when you have to make do, that brings out the best in people.

“Now we must continue to amaze, to keep giving our all, that is the objective this season. It was not easy today, although we made it look easy.

“It’s a difficult road, we’ve got to keep our feet on the ground, but can also enjoy this Christmas on 42 points. Now the lads can have a rest for eight days, but also spend some of it thinking about me…”

Sebastiano Esposito had his first Serie A start and converted a penalty, aged 17 years and 172 days.

“I saw him in the pre-season training retreat and he just looked like a little child, even his face seems so young. He has grown a great deal over the last couple of months, he has a great future ahead of him, has a strong family behind him and I too will help keep him on the right track.”