Antonio Conte insists Inter “did everything possible” in their 1-1 draw with Atalanta and again complained they were missing key players.
Lautaro Martinez had put the hosts ahead within four minutes, but La Dea slowly took control of the game and dominated possession.
Robin Gosens equalised and only a Samir Handanovic penalty save on Luis Muriel prevented Atalanta grabbing the victory.
“We went into this game without four big players, which is a major loss for us at this moment,” Conte told DAZN.
“Atalanta were built with remarkable physicality, aggression, intensity and the fact we held out against them on that level is impressive. Don’t forget, Atalanta finished ahead of Inter last season.
“They are a very strong team, we did everything possible today to win the game. These lads are exceptional and all I hope is that we don’t miss players, because just a couple are out and it becomes really very complicated.
“Today we had Nicolò Barella suspended, Matias Vecino with a calf problem, and we were down to the bare bones. I am trying to get Alexis Sanchez back in shape, but we are in my view giving everything we’ve got in a difficult situation.
“Looking at the table, seeing us up there, we might turn a blind eye to some issues, but the fact remains I pray we don’t have any players missing, otherwise there’s no coverage.
“Our position in the table should absolutely not con anyone into ignoring the difficulties of our situation.
“Atalanta have been working with the same coach for four years, they brought in the players suited to that style of football. We’ve just been together for six months, so being 11 points clear of them in the table is impressive.”
Stefano Sensi had not started a match for three months either, although he did have a series of substitute appearances.
“I am happy he managed to play 70 minutes in a very physical, intense match, as we have rediscovered a player who was very important at the start of the season.
“Atalanta continued to play with great intensity to the end and in order to do that, they need players with certain characteristics. The coach has consistently improved the side every season and built it with players suited to his ideas of football.
“We are just at the start of that journey.”
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