Antonio Conte felt Inter were hard done by as their Scudetto ambitions suffered a blow with a 2-1 defeat at Sampdoria.
Alexis Sanchez missed a first-half penalty before Antonio Candreva converted from the spot for the hosts at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.
Keita Balde doubled Sampdoria’s advantage in the 38th minute and, although Stefan de Vrij reduced the deficit and Romelu Lukaku – short of match fitness – came off the bench, Inter were unable to pull level.
Milan host champions Juventus in a mouth-watering San Siro clash later on Wednesday, where victory would increase the Rossoneri’s advantage over Inter at the summit to four points.
The result halted an 11-match unbeaten run for Conte’s men and he refused to be too harsh on his players after they failed to overcome a chastening first half.
“We found ourselves going from the missed penalty to having a penalty against us. There was this one-two from Sampdoria that clearly created some difficulties for us,” he told reporters.
“At the same time, the team was doing well, in the first few minutes they created a lot of scoring situations. Sometimes you lose games you deserve to lose, other times there are situations where you can score and you don’t.”
Despite those missed chances and struggles in attack for Lautaro Martinez, Conte refused to blame Lukaku’s recuperation from a thigh strain for Inter falling short.
— Inter (@Inter_en) January 6, 2021
“It wasn’t the first time we played without Romelu, we know that he is a player with certain qualities, but he wasn’t 100 per cent and you saw it when he came on,” he said.
“Sorry because I think we deserved something more.”
Christian Eriksen was also introduced from the bench, despite being told he can leave Inter this month.
“I always try to exploit the players according to the situations that arise and I am at the club’s complete disposal on every decision,” Conte explained.
“I get to work, as I have always done since I have been at Inter, but every decision will always be shared.”
Inter return to action with a crunch clash against third-placed Roma on Sunday.
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