Antonio Conte has said that Inter Milan beat Brescia through pure determination on Tuesday night – and has warned fans that the club will not be able to keep up their fine run of form for much longer.
A stunning strike by Romelu Lukaku gave Inter a 2-1 win at Brescia on Tuesday although they had to cling on for three points in the face of heavy pressure from the promoted side.
The win took Inter back to the top of Serie A, at least for 24 hours until Juventus, who are two points behind, host Genoa on Wednesday. Inter also maintained a 100% away record with five wins out of five.
“It becomes difficult to talk about the game, because the same players are out there constantly. They struggled to an extraordinary degree,” Conte told Sky Sport Italia, as per Football Italia.
“It was our fourth game in nine days, with the same players. Any situation or result is acceptable at that point. All we can do is thank them for the spirit they showed to hang in until the end.
“Now we’re only halfway there, as we have another game with Bologna, then Borussia Dortmund and we’ll have seven games in 20 days before we get to rest. It’s an anomaly and I haven’t seen any other side with a fixture list like that, so it seemed very strange to me.
“Some games you need to win just by suffering. They must understand that for many reasons, as for example the hosts are pushing to turn the result around, you have to soak up the pressure, hang in there and I challenge anyone to play four games in nine days while getting a victory at Brescia.”
Inter went ahead midway through the first half with a fortuitous goal from Lautaro Martinez, whose shot deflected off defender Andrea Cistana, before Lukaku score with a stinging drive just past the hour mark.
Inter defender Milan Skriniar’s own goal in the 76th minute brought a feisty Brescia right back into the game and ensured a nervy finale for the visitors.
Inter took early control and went ahead after 23 minutes. Martinez tried his luck from 25 metres, the ball hit Cistana’s outstretched leg and looped over helpless debutant goalkeeper Enrico Alfonso who was stranded.
Inter midfielder Roberto Gagliardini was lucky not to be sent off when tempers flared at the end of the first half, escaping with a yellow card despite pushing an opponent’s head with his hand.
Brescia, who are 18th in the 20-team table with seven points, were far more aggressive after the break and the complexion of the game changed completed.
Home striker Mario Balotelli, facing his old club, had a low shot turned around the post by Samir Handanovic and the Slovenian goalkeeper also did well to block Alfredo Donnarumma’s close range effort.
But, in a rare break upfield, Inter snatched a second in the 63rd minute as Lukaku collected the ball near the touchline, cut inside and blasted a shot into the net from 25 metres, the Belgian’s seventh league goal of season.
Balotelli saw a close-range header blocked by Handanovic and then blasted the rebound over before Brescia finally got their goal when Dimitri Bisoli’s shot was saved by Handanovic but ricocheted straight off Skriniar and into the net.
Balotelli then had an overhead kick charged down but Inter held on for three precious points to leave them on 25 from 10 matches ahead of Juve on 23 with a game in hand.
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