Inter Coach Antonio Conte On Dzeko-Sanchez Rumours: “Not Asked For Anything, I Don’t Want Distractions”

January 29, 2021 14:30
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Antonio Conte is worried that talk of Inter swapping Alexis Sanchez for Edin Dzeko could distract his players from matters on the pitch.

The Nerazzurri are in talks with Roma over a last-minute loan exchange involving the two forwards, with reports suggesting today will be the decisive day in determining whether the deal can happen.

Asked about the talks in his press conference, ahead of tomorrow’s Serie A match at home to Benevento, Conte was at pains to make it clear he had nothing to do with the ongoing negotiations.

“I have not asked the owners for anything,” Conte stated.

“I have always said that the players who are here will be here until the end of the season, but I like the fact that every time it’s made to sound like a whim of mine.

“This year I have had very little influence on these situations.

“I don’t want to talk about Dzeko because he is at Roma, I have respect for him and his club but above all for my players.

“The situation is clear, all players will remain here unless someone asks to leave.

“Deals that can be done without any financial outlay will be done, otherwise I see no changes happening.

“It is useless to raise smoke and create instability.

“We have to work and shut up.

“We have accepted all kinds of situations that are coming, I do not find it right that there are situations that can undermine the team’s concentration.

“I’m the first person to not want these distractions.”

Conte was also quick to dismiss the idea that Sanchez could be affected by the situation.

“Sanchez is an Inter player, he has to stay focused and be available.”

Conte also spoke on how this time round against Benevento will differ from the first time that the sides met at the start of the season, when Inter ran out 5-2 winners at the Stadio Ciro Vigorito.

“Certainly Benevento are doing very well, I am happy for Pippo Inzaghi who is establishing himself in Serie A.

“The second round of matches begin and the points are starting to matter for everyone.

“In the second part of the season there will be much more attention from all teams.”

Conte was then asked about his team’s inability to take advantage of more of their chances, even though Inter are currently the highest scoring team in the division.

“The only way to score even more is through work.

“We need to work in terms of scoring and in terms of the quality of the final ball.

“We create a lot in every game and often the opposition goalkeepers are the best players on the pitch, but we must be more determined when we get in front of goal.

“We can and must improve.”

The former Italian national team coach proceeded to speak on Inter’s next league match against Fiorentina and whether he hopes it will be postponed to next Saturday, rather than play it on Friday, just three days after their Coppa Italia semi-final first leg against Juventus.

“Honestly, that is a question to ask the club but I don’t see any reason not to move it to Saturday.”

Next, Conte was quizzed over Christian Eriksen and admitted that the Dane cannot only come on to take free kicks, like he did in the 2-1 win over AC Milan on Tuesday.

“In rugby there are players on the bench who come on just to take kicks, but that’s rugby,” he said.

“We hope to have a contribution and that Eriksen will give us something even outside of his set-piece specialty.

“For sure he is an extra weapon but having said that we expect him to do something effective during the game.

“A player cannot play only to take free kicks.”

The former Juventus coach then went on to reveal that he told the club not to appeal his two-match ban that he received after being sent off in last week’s league match at Udinese.

“I asked the club not to appeal.

“There are situations that must be accepted, if it has been decided then it is right that Inter and I accept it, whether it is right or wrong.

“The boys, after a year and a half, know what to do.

“We prepared for the match yesterday, we will continue to do so today.

“I have a very prepared staff who will replace me in a great way.”

Conte went on to provide an update on both Matias Vecino and Stefano Sensi and their respective physical conditions.

“We agreed with Vecino to let him play Primavera matches as it was difficult to organise friendly matches.

“We hope he can recover fully as soon as possible.

“Stefano is also working, we are calibrating the work well for him.”

Conte then admitted to having no interest in whether the federal prosecutor will open an investigation into Romelu Lukaku and Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s spat in the Milan derby earlier on in the week.

“I don’t know nor do I care if there will be an investigation by the prosecutor.

“I have to train the players.

“Romelu was a booking away from suspension and therefore is suspended.”

In conclusion Conte was asked whether the approach in key games has changed compared to last year seeing as Inter have recently recorded wins over Napoli, Juventus and AC Milan.

“Our approach must always be the same.

“Sometimes it goes well and other times less so.

“It is inevitable that in a balanced league head-to-head matches are fundamental, but at the same time you have to win also against the small to medium-sized teams.

“Every match this year is difficult and worth three points.

“Last year we didn’t beat Juventus, but we did beat Napoli, AC Milan and Lazio.”

By Cammy Anderson