Thursday, January 28, 2021

Conte puzzled by first-half issues for Inter

SoccerNews in Serie A 9 Jan 2021

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Antonio Conte is at a loss to understand why Inter struggle to get going in games this season as they look to get back to winning ways in Serie A.

Inter were 2-0 down to Sampdoria by half-time in their previous outing and, despite Stefan de Vrij’s header in the second period, could not complete a comeback. 

With Milan losing to Juventus in midweek, Inter sit just one point behind their league-leading city rivals, though have a tough visit to third-place Roma to come on Sunday. 

Inter had more attempts, more possession and attempted more passes in the second half against Sampdoria than they did in the first – continuing a trend which has been prevalent throughout the campaign. 

Across their 16 Serie A games, Conte’s side have managed 13 goals from a total of 116 attempts – of which 36 were on target – in the opening 45 minutes of proceedings.

In contrast, when looking at their second-half numbers, Inter have scored 28 times having attempted 133 shots, with 57 of those hitting the target. 

Inter have also crafted more chances and more big opportunities after the break, while their passing accuracy remains similar (86.10 per cent in the second half in contrast to 86.87 per cent in the first). 

Conte, however, is unsure as to why his team are having such issues. 

“I don’t know if there is an explanation, last year it was the opposite,” the Inter boss told a news conference.  

“If now the opposite is happening, I don’t know why. The approach has always been the right one, even against Sampdoria, we dominated and then we went down by two goals. 

“The attitude must be considered and ours has never been wrong.”

Conte also reaffirmed that there will be no business done by Inter in the January transfer window, seemingly casting doubt over whether Christian Eriksen will, as previously expected, leave the club this month. 

Inter’s chiefs have confirmed that Eriksen is free to depart Inter, with the Denmark playmaker having created just six chances from open play this season, failing to register either a goal or assist during his nine league appearances. 

Asked if speculation over Eriksen’s future was impacting his squad, Conte said: “I’m not talking about it, whoever wants to is free to do so. We must try to do our best on the pitch, from here until the end of the season.”

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