With Lautaro Martínez as headline, Inter visit to Atalanta in search of a triumph that allows us to forget the defeat against Real Madrid in the Champions League.
Inter Milan visit Atalanta in a clash of “Nerazzurri” in which Milan’s team recovers Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku and both need to win to not lose track of solid leader Milan, who will host Hellas Verona at the end of the day.
Inter coach Antonio Conte was enthusiastic about Lukaku’s return, but concerned about the Covid-19 cases that add to the accumulated fatigue due to his team’s participation in the Champions League.
A tournament in which they fell 3-2 as a visitor to Real Madrid in a match that could well end tied, although it was worse for Atalanta, beaten in Bergamo by Liverpool that crushed him by a categorical 5-0.
“It is useless to try to hide the fact that Covid cases have an influence because, unlike in the past, this time both players and families at home were hit harder,” Conte explained in reference to the second wave of the disease that forced us to take drastic measures to the Italian government.
“The situation is not easy for anyone, but we must face it”added the Inter coach, warning: “We came to this game like all the other teams that play more than one tournament and fatigue is the same for everyone.”
Asked if Lukaku’s return excited him and true to his sparing style when declaring, Conte replied: “Humor is what it should be” before assuring that “it is easier to win by playing well” when asked if he preferred win despite playing poorly.
“We must continue working to improve,” he added, noting that in the clash with Real Madrid “(Zinedine) Zidane also made only three changes. If instead only I had done it …”, he completed pointing to the criticism he usually receives .
“You have to know how to manage some situations, especially when you have casualties due to injury like those of Lukaku or that of (Chilean Alexis) Sánchez. Five changes can change a game, but only when you have players available to make them,” he added.
Your colleague Gian Piero Gasperini, meanwhile, recognized that the string of matches attacked the performance that Atalanta showed last season and acknowledged that “although we suffered a tough defeat in the Champions League, there is still a lot to play for”.
“You have to know how to adapt to situations and moments,” he agreed with Conte, even though he accepted that his team shows some defensive flaws that end up costing him dearly: “We have to be more attentive because they score us a lot of goals.”
To face Inter, Gasperini will also suffer casualties such as those of Robin Gosens and the Dutch Marten de Roon.
“Inter is a great team that has ups and downs like everyone else, but it will be a difficult game for both of us that will help us to know where we stand,” said DT, who will have the Argentine Alejandro “Papu” Gómez in the game setup .
Ahead, to counteract the offensive power of the duo that Lukaku integrates with the Argentine Lautaro Martínez, Atalanta would have the Colombian striker Duván Zapata along with the Slovenian Josip Ilicic, while Luis Muriel would be a substitute.
The 11 of Atalanta: Marco Sportiello; Bosko Sutalo, José Luis Palomino, Berat Djimsiti; Hans Hateboer, Remo Freuler, Ruslan Malinovskyi, Johan Mojica; Alejandro Gómez, Josip Ilicic; Duván Zapata. DT: Gian Piero Gasperini.
Inter 11: Samir Handanovic; Danilo D’Ambrosio, Stefan De Vrij, Alessandro Bastoni; Achraf Hakimi, Arturo Vidal, Marcelo Brozovic, Ashley Young; Nicolo Barella; Alexis Sánchez, Lautaro Martínez. DT: Antonio Conte.