Inter deservedly made it through to the quarterfinals of the Coppa Italia against Fiorentina, at least in the eyes of the Nerazzurri’s head coach Antonio Conte.
After 90 minutes had been played, the sides were drawing 1-1 at the Stadio Artemio Franchi following goals from Arturo Vidal and Christian Kouame, meaning extra-time was required.
Romelu Lukaku’s 119th-minute header ultimately sent Inter through to the next round, where they will face city rivals AC Milan in a fortnight.
“It is certainly a well-deserved qualification, which could have been achieved in 90 minutes because we had important chances,” Conte told Inter’s official club broadcaster Inter TV, following the match in Florence.
“The guys were good, they played, they had good pace and good organization.”
Conte went on to share his satisfaction both with the result and some of the lesser-used players who got an opportunity to play today.
“I am satisfied, just as I am happy for players like Aleksandar Kolarov who had COVID-19 and he had not played for a long time, but also Andrea Ranocchia.
“They are serious guys who care about Inter and I am happy to coach them.”
Conte then spoke on some of the regular starters who started on the bench and admitted that he is happy with the fact everyone in the team is involved and all wanting to do well.
“I had positive responses, as I said at the press conference the best team would have taken to the field.
“Stefan de Vrij, Alessandro Bastoni, Marcelo Brozovic and Nicolo Barella all came into this one off the back of playing a lot of games in quick succession while Lukaku is trying to get rid of an injury, after Sunday’s game against Roma he trained separately.
“Achraf Hakimi also had a fever yesterday.
“We fielded an important line-up to get through, I’m happy because everyone in this group is involved, with the sole aim of doing well.”
The former Italian national team coach then spoke on having to play extra time and this weekend’s first Derby d’Italia of the season against Juventus which will be played at San Siro.
“Playing 120 minutes? There is the positive aspect of having got through to the next round at a difficult place, when you win it gives you pure energy.
“These guys have won eight consecutive matches out of the last ten in Serie A.
“Often and willingly you risk burning your nervous energy, because often what you do is never enough.
“It was important for us to qualify, this is pure energy for us.
“We expect Sunday’s game to provide some motivation and we will understand how much we have reduced the gap on the pitch after a year and a half of work.
“Now we recover and then we will think about preparing for the match in the best possible way.”