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Conte: 'Inter steps to victory'

Antonio Conte discussed the dangers of playing behind closed doors against Ludogorets and Juventus, reiterating Inter must go through “necessary steps” to silverware.

Cristiano Biraghi and Romelu Lukaku replied to the Cauly opener in an empty San Siro,securing a 2-1 win on the night, 4-1 on aggregate.

“I’d already played behind closed doors with Italy against Croatia. It’s certainly a strange atmosphere and it can feel almost like a training session at first, which is a dangerous attitude, but the lads got the game back on track,” the coach told Sky Sport Italia.

“We go forward, I had the opportunity to rotate the squad, give more playing time to other figures who needed it and we take only the positives from this tie.”

Conte also tested out a four-man defence at times this evening, with Christian Eriksen and Marcelo Brozovic together for the second half in midfield.

“We need to work on the ideas and have time in training. The postponement of the game with Sampdoria last week gave us time to test out something new, which can be used either at the start of a match or during the 90 minutes.

“When you have two strikers, it’s inevitably harder work for the midfielders. For those who play with one centre-forward, two wingers or a trequartista, there are more players ready to help cover defensively.

“We always need to find the right balance depending on the characteristics of the opponents we are up against.”

Considering they are now in the last 16, can Inter target the Europa League?

“It’s only right that a team like Inter go into any tournament trying to achieve the maximum result. It’s been nine years and a few months since Inter took home silverware, but the club has the tradition and ambition to aim high.

“We will try to do the maximum, knowing victory doesn’t come from one moment to the next. It’s easy to say, we’ll win this, that and the other, but those who have won, they know how tough it is and the steps that are necessary to reach that point.”

Sunday’s Scudetto showdown with Serie A leaders Juventus will also be behind closed doors, as Turin is one of the areas affected by the Coronavirus outbreak and shutdown.

“We started this run of games, there is an important match coming up against Juventus. Once we reach the end of this period, we’ll understand how distant we are from a winning level. I am convinced this will give us more clarity on where we are now, the length of the road ahead of us and the work that still needs to be done.”

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