Juventus and Inter are reportedly ready to do battle for Roma star Nicolo Zaniolo.

Zaniolo, 21, made his return from a serious knee injury this month and has repeatedly been linked with a move away from Roma.

A pair of Serie A giants may be ready to fight for the midfielder's services.

 

TOP STORY – INTER, JUVE TO BATTLE FOR ZANIOLO

Inter are ready to challenge Juventus to sign Roma star Zaniolo, according to CalcioMercato.

Zaniolo is considered one of Europe's best young talents, and left Inter for Roma in 2018.

Roma reportedly want at least €50million for the five-time Italy international.

 

ROUND-UP

- Contracted at Manchester City until 2021, Sergio Aguero may yet stay at the Etihad Stadium a little longer. The Mirror reports City have not ruled out giving the star forward, 32, a one-year extension.

- With Neymar repeatedly linked with a return to Barcelona, it seems the LaLiga giants are wanting to distance themselves from the Paris Saint-Germain star. Marca says Barca are keen to see the rumours of a potential return for Neymar stop.

- Staying at Camp Nou and Barcelona apparently have interest in two players from Tottenham. The Daily Star says Barca want Ryan Sessegnon and Tanguy Ndombele. However, it reports Spurs will reject all offers for Sessegnon this close season.

- Philippe Coutinho's future remains unclear. Mundo Deportivo reports the playmaker, who is on loan at Bayern Munich from Barcelona until the end of the season, will not decide his future until after the Champions League next month.

- Plenty of talk continues to surround Arsenal star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who is coming out of contract at the Premier League club next year. The Daily Star reports the forward will sign a contract extension with Arsenal – if no other club makes an official approach.

- After just two goals in 25 games for Real Madrid, Luka Jovic seems set for an exit. According to Mundo Deportivo, Juventus, Inter, Chelsea, Leicester City, Milan and Napoli are all considering moves for the forward.

Gian Piero Gasperini was proud of Atalanta after a 2-2 draw with Juventus, but felt his side deserved to win.

Atalanta led twice through Duvan Zapata and Ruslan Malinovskiy, but Cristiano Ronaldo scored penalties to cancel out both goals, including a 90th-minute equaliser in Turin on Saturday.

While Gasperini was proud of his third-placed team, the Atalanta coach believes they deserved all three points.

"I'm definitely more proud. We played great in the first half and in the second half there was a comeback by Juve," he told a news conference.

"But with our play, we managed to take the lead and play a great game anyway. Of course, we are also upset because we deserved to win.

"But, in football, your performance is not always enough."

With six games left to play in Serie A, Atalanta are third in the table, nine points adrift of Juventus.

Maurizio Sarri praised the "incredible" Cristiano Ronaldo after the star's pair of penalties helped Juventus draw 2-2 with Atalanta.

Ronaldo converted two spot-kicks in Turin on Saturday as Juve took another step towards the Serie A title.

The Portugal international cancelled out Duvan Zapata's opener before securing a point in the 90th minute after Ruslan Malinovskiy had restored Atalanta's lead.

Sarri, whose side are eight points clear at the top with six games to play, hailed Ronaldo's ability to handle the pressure.

"He is a champion with his feet but also with his head," Sarri told a news conference.

"He manages to handle the pressures he has on him in an incredible way."

Juventus were coming off a 4-2 loss to Milan on Tuesday, and maintained a nine-point lead over third-placed Atalanta.

Sarri felt Juventus deserved their point, with their busy run of fixtures continuing against Sassuolo on Wednesday.

"Tonight's point was sweaty and deserved. We drew against one of the best teams in Europe, and it's a very important result," he said.

"Merit goes to a second half of quality, in which we attacked Atalanta higher, while focusing on their physical decline, and we scored goals in our best moment.

"The game in Milan, in which we played well for a long time, could have left us with waste. In the first half we suffered, but in the second half we came out well.

"The Scudetto race is by no means closed, there are still 18 points available. It is a very difficult phase of the season, the games are very expensive, and it is difficult to find continuity."

Cristiano Ronaldo twice scored from the penalty spot as Juventus put an end to Atalanta's winning streak, the Serie A leaders rallying late to secure a 2-2 draw on Saturday.

Substitute Ruslan Malinovskiy fired in an 80th-minute goal that had Gian Piero Gasperini's in-form side on course to move into second place in the table courtesy of a 10th straight league win.

Duvan Zapata had put the visitors into the lead as they dominated in the first half, though they were pegged back soon after the break when a handball call against Marten de Roon allowed Ronaldo to level.

Having surrendered a two-goal lead to lose 4-2 at Milan in midweek, Maurizio Sarri's side appeared on course to suffer a second successive loss, in the process cutting their lead at the summit to six points.

However, referee Piero Giacomelli pointed to the spot for a second time when the ball struck Luis Muriel's arm in the 90th minute, allowing Ronaldo to deny Atalanta and leave Juve eight clear of Lazio.

 

 

Duvan Zapata's opener for Atalanta against Juventus on Saturday saw Gian Piero Gasperini's side achieve a feat not witnessed in Serie A for 68 years.

Colombia international Zapata drilled home a clever pass from Alejandro Gomez to score his 15th league goal of the season in the 16th minute at the Allianz Stadium.

It meant Atalanta became the first team with three players to score at least 15 goals in the same Serie A campaign since Ermes Muccinelli, Giampiero Boniperti and John Hansen for Juventus in 1951-52.

Josip Ilicic was already on 15 when Zapata struck, while Luis Muriel was on 17.

Atalanta have now scored in 20 successive Serie A matches – their best run in the competition since netting in 23 consecutively in 1955-56.

Stefano Pioli refused to be drawn over comparisons to former Milan boss Gennaro Gattuso as he was once again asked about his future at San Siro. 

In-form Milan travel to face Gattuso's Napoli on Sunday in a crucial game for both teams in the fight to finish fifth in Serie A. 

The Rossoneri go on the road looking to maintain their unbeaten run since the season resumed in Italy. They rallied from 2-0 down to stun leaders Juventus in midweek, having also beaten second-placed Lazio last weekend. 

Pioli took charge in October following the departure of Marco Giampaolo, who had been appointed prior to the 2019-20 season after Gattuso left by mutual agreement. 

Milan finished fifth last season - in the process missing out on Champions League football - but the former Italy international is now at the helm with Napoli, winners of this year's Coppa Italia final.

Asked to evaluate his reign so far in contrast to Gattuso's achievements in 2018-19, Pioli told the media: "It is difficult to do it. Gattuso had started the season from the beginning, I didn't. 

"We are talking about a coach [Gattuso] capable of making the teams he trains play well, giving an important mentality.  

"He did it at Milan, he is doing it today at Napoli. And that's what I'm trying to do, too. The numbers can be compared in the end and there is still much to do." 

Pioli arrived with Milan sitting in 13th place in the table, just three points clear of the relegation zone. 

While there were ups and downs in the early months, the recent run of results - they have taken 13 points from five games since the restart - offers much promise for the future. 

"We did not immediately have the continuity that is acquired by working together, it takes time to build a game philosophy and get to know the players especially from a character point of view," Pioli said. 

"We must finish the championship well, there are still many points available and many important games. Tomorrow we have a very difficult one, against a great team and a coach who gave them the right mentality, leading to their Coppa Italia victory.  

"We face a team that is doing very well, just as we are doing very well. We need to think only about what we can still do, and not what we could have done before." 

Despite the recent good work, Milan continue to be linked with a move for Ralf Rangnick. For Pioli, however, the only concern is finishing this current campaign strongly, rather than worrying about his job.

"I don't know if the club has already decided," he said on speculation over Rangnick joining the club. "But this is not my concern, nor is it for the players.  

"We are only thinking of doing well. We are reaping the benefits of the work started in October, we and the club have to grow further and close the season satisfied." 

Kalidou Koulibaly says he could finish his career with Napoli despite persistent rumours linking him with Premier League clubs.

The centre-back has been heavily linked with Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United, while Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain have also been credited with interest.

Having turned 29 last month, the Senegal international's transfer value is unlikely to get any higher, and he accepts his future is largely in the hands of Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis.

However, Koulibaly would be happy to spend the rest of his playing days with the Partenopei as his family is settled in the city.

"My family is doing very well in Naples and that makes me happy. It's only thanks to them that I've been here for six years because, if they weren't happy, I'd have left already," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"My children speak Italian as well as French. We speak both languages at home. We live peacefully here.

"I hear that I'll be leaving, but I'm fine here. I don't understand why we should talk about the market when there's nothing on the horizon. There's a new one every day.

"You never know what happens in football. I never spoke to the club to leave. If we have to find a solution, we will, but I've never talked about the transfer market.

"I read about my future in the newspapers but I only want to think about playing. I'm 100 per cent for Napoli and it bothers me being linked every day to this or that European club.

"We'll see what the president decides, if he proposes extending my contract, which would allow me to end my career here. At the moment, I still have three years on my contract.

"I wouldn't say no [to ending my career here]. But I don't want to deceive anyone. We know how things are in football - maybe you say you'll stay for life, and then you're sold.

"So, I tell the fans that I will give 200-300 percent while I'm wearing this shirt."

Koulibaly has even spoken to Victor Osimhen, the Lille forward heavily linked with Napoli, about the benefits of moving to the club.

"It's true he called me," Koulibaly said. "We talked about racism. I told him he wouldn't have these problems coming to Naples, that he'll choose the right city.

"I've also felt the bitterness of racist insults, but never in Naples. I reassured him: I told him that, if he comes, he'll have made the best choice."

Juventus were 2-0 up and coasting at Milan on Tuesday before collapsing in utterly abject fashion.

Three goals in five minutes turned the game on its head before Ante Rebic completed a 4-2 triumph for the Rossoneri.

A seven-point lead with seven games remaining means Maurizio Sarri's men remain on course for the Scudetto.

But up next are fourth-placed Atalanta, themselves nine points from the summit. After their San Siro ordeal, a showdown with one of the most exciting and dangerous teams in European football might be the last thing Juve need.


PERFECT SINCE LOCKDOWN

Saturday's match at the Allianz Stadium brings together two attacking ideologues. Sarri's high-pressing, high-possession approach became so ingrained during his celebrated spell at Napoli that it was given its own nickname.

But Sarrismo has a more than worthy adversary in Gian Piero Gasperini's thrilling, fearless setup.

Atalanta's expansive 3-4-1-2 system, in which central midfielders, wing-backs and forwards freely exchange positions to repeatedly overload opponents in wide areas, has produced goals by the truckload this season.

They head to Turin in prime form, buoyed by a run of nine Serie A wins in succession – the club's longest ever such tally in the top flight.

Along with Bayern Munich and Real Madrid – both potential Champions League final opponents in these heady days for Atalanta – they are one of three teams in Europe's top five leagues to have won all their games since lockdown.

Overall, La Dea have 20 victories this term, which is one shy of the single season record Gasperini set during his first campaign at the helm in 2016-17.


GOALS, GOALS, GOALS

While Gasperini's masterpiece is one of collective ingenuity, there are also some very impressive individual numbers.

If Duvan Zapata manages one more league goal, Atalanta will be the first side to have three players with 15 or more to their name in a Serie A season since Juventus in 1951-52, when Ermes Muccinelli, Giampiero Boniperti and John Hansen accomplished the feat

Luis Muriel and Josip Ilicic have 17 and 15 respectively, with Muriel's feat all the more impressive when considering he typically begins matches on the bench.

Indeed, the Colombia international is only the second player to score double figures in a single season via substitute appearances across the top five leagues, after Paco Alcacer did likewise at Borussia Dortmund in 2018-19.

The dazzling firecracker at the creative centre of this explosive attack is Alejandro 'Papu' Gomez, who is set to make his 300th Serie A appearance against Juventus.

The 32-year-old Argentinian playmaker enjoys free rein as Gasperini's number 10 and has racked up 15 assists this term – the highest single-season figure since Opta started collecting such data in 2004-05.

Gomez has provided at least 10 Serie A assists in each of his four seasons under Gasperini and the former Catania man has 128 goal involvements in Italy's top flight overall (61 goals and 67 assists).


GATECRASHING EUROPE'S ELITE

A rampaging last-16 win over Valencia booked Atalanta's place in the Champions League quarter-finals, where they will take on Paris Saint-Germain when Europe's elite club competition lands in Lisbon for its concluding mini-tournament next month.

Their performances truly are among the very best on the continent

Only Bayern (100) and Manchester City (86) have scored more league goals than Atalanta's 85 in 2019-20.

That amounts to an average of 2.74 per game, again the third best in Europe. Dominant Bundesliga winners Bayern edged up to 2.94 per game, while PSG averaged 2.78 across the truncated Ligue 1 season.

Along with City and Barcelona, Atalanta have scored five or more goals in five separate matches. That can only be bettered in the Bundesliga, where Bayern and Dortmund each did it six times.

Things are also looking pleasingly tight at the back. In 2020, La Dea have five Serie A clean sheets, edged in the calendar year so far by Juventus and Milan with six apiece.

Juve certainly should not bank on adding to that number when they host Gasperini's great entertainers. If Atalanta manage to storm Turin, it will be 10 wins in a row and the gap will be six points with six games to play.

They can't... can they?

Manchester City are reportedly ready to give up two players in a deal for Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly.

Koulibaly, 29, has regularly been linked with a move from Naples, with several of Europe's biggest clubs apparently keen to land the centre-back.

And City may know who they are ready to offer up as part of a deal.

 

TOP STORY – MAN CITY PREPARED TO GIVE UP TWO PLAYERS FOR KOULIBALY

Manchester City could use Nicolas Otamendi and Oleksandr Zinchenko in a deal for Napoli star Koulibaly, according to The Sun.

The report says the Serie A club have already contacted City about Otamendi and Zinchenko.

Napoli are said to want €100million for Koulibaly, who has also been linked to Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal.

ROUND-UP

- Liverpool have been repeatedly linked with a move for Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara over recent weeks. However, ESPN reports the Premier League champions will not pursue a deal for the former Barcelona star.

- Speculation around Eric Garcia's future continues. According to Mundo Deportivo, the Manchester City defender is motivated to return to Barcelona, but the Premier League club have offered the 19-year-old a bumper contract, with his current deal expiring in 2022.

- Jonathan Ikone is seemingly attracting some interest. Le 10 Sport reports Chelsea and Inter are interested in the Lille forward. Ikone scored three goals and provided six assists in 28 Ligue 1 games in 2019-20.

- Will Roma get a deal done for Chris Smalling? Gianluca Di Marzio says Roma are in negotiations with Manchester United to make the defender's move permanent. The report says Roma's offer of €3m (£2.7m) to extend the loan for a season before a €15m (£13.4m) offer to make the move permanent has been deemed too low.

- Mesut Ozil wants to see out his contract at Arsenal, with his deal expiring in 2021. The Sun reports the attacker has told friends he will only consider playing in MLS or the Turkish Super Lig after he leaves Arsenal.

- Paris Saint-Germain could be looking to strengthen while weakening one of their Ligue 1 rivals. Foot Mercato reports PSG are interested in Lyon and France defender Leo Dubois.

Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri agreed with Pep Guardiola's assessment that facing Atalanta was "like going to the dentist".

Sarri's side face a huge test on Saturday when they host Atalanta, who are third in Serie A and nine points behind leaders Juve with seven games remaining.

Manchester City manager Guardiola compared playing Atalanta to going to the dentist, having beaten and drawn with the Italian side in the Champions League group stage.

Sarri agreed with Guardiola's description as he expects a difficult clash against Gian Piero Gasperini's men.

"It's an important moment of the season. Atalanta are not a surprise. They have done really well throughout the season, particularly away from home," he told a news conference. 

"They are a really difficult opponent. Atalanta have been a difficult opponent for everyone for a long time now.

"Guardiola gave the best description of them. It's like going to the dentist. You can end up well but you feel the pain. It's a really difficult team to face."

Sarri will come up against Guardiola in the Champions League quarter-finals if their respective teams get through their last-16 ties.

But the Italian said his focus was on Serie A before a clash with Lyon, who won the first leg of their tie 1-0 in France.

"I am not interested. We have only one goal now – the league. And after the league we have Lyon," Sarri said.

"It's really far away now so we don't have to waste any energy [thinking about it]."

Juventus boss Maurizio Sarri has told his title-chasing players they must set aside the shock of crumbling against Milan as they prepare to tackle a dangerous Atalanta side.

A torrid Tuesday at San Siro saw Juventus lead 2-0 before folding in the final 30 minutes to lose 4-2 against Stefano Pioli's Rossoneri.

Third-placed Atalanta have the capacity to tear into any team and Sarri admits he simply does not have time to analyse in detail why leaders Juve lost their way so badly in midweek.

The solution, he suggested in a news conference on Friday, is simply to move on and try to forget about that abject surrender.

"If the match against Milan had happened earlier on, the priority would be to go in search of the causes," head coach Sarri said.

"Given that we are in the final stages, the priority becomes ensuring that it doesn't have a negative impact. We have to look forward immediately."

There is still every reason for Juve to be positive, given they hold a seven-point lead over second-placed Lazio heading into the weekend.

And with seven rounds of games to play, it would take a sustained slump for them to be caught.

"Right now, almost all teams struggle to have continuity for 90 minutes and what I would like to see is organisation, which in certain moments is decisive," said Sarri.

In preaching the message that Juve need to bring level heads to the Allianz Stadium on Saturday, Sarri knows any wobble could be punished.

The Bianconeri capitalised when Atalanta lost their way when the teams met in Bergamo back in November, the hosts surging ahead early in the second half before Gonzalo Higuain's double and Paulo Dybala's late goal gave Juve a 3-1 victory.

"In the away match Atalanta held a very intense rhythm for 55 minutes but then they likely couldn't hold it for the final stages," Sarri said.

"I think we'll see a different type of match this time around.

"This is an important phase of the season. Atalanta are the real deal and are doing really well and their stats reflect that, especially away from home. They're a very difficult opponent and have been for some time."

Dybala returns from a suspension this weekend. Sarri said he doubted whether the Argentinian would have been able to prevent the "blackout" that Juve suffered in Milan.

Manchester City are reportedly eager to sign Valencia star Ferran Torres, while there is set to be further movement at Chelsea.

Torres, 20, has been linked to numerous European giants after impressing at Valencia, where he came through the youth system.

City are seeking to replace Leroy Sane, who has joined Bayern Munich, and may have found their man.

 

TOP STORY – MAN CITY EAGER TO SIGN TORRES

Manchester City have made signing Valencia star Torres a priority, according to Cadena SER.

Contracted at Valencia until 2021, Torres has been linked with the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United, Juventus and Borussia Dortmund.

Torres has scored six goals and provided seven assists in 41 games in all competitions this season.

 

ROUND-UP

- With Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner set to arrive, Chelsea could be set for further moves. Sport Bild reports defender Antonio Rudiger is in contact with Germany team-mate Kai Havertz as he tries to convince the Bayer Leverkusen star to head to Stamford Bridge.

- Staying at Chelsea and the Daily Express says Frank Lampard is looking to sell numerous players. It claims midfielder N'Golo Kante is among them and Real Madrid are eyeing the Frenchman.

- Emerson Palmieri and Olivier Giroud could also be set for Chelsea exits. Goal reports Inter are ready to offer €22million (£19m) plus add-ons for Emerson, while they are also interested in Giroud.

- With Luka Jovic seemingly set for a Real Madrid exit, the interest is apparently growing in the forward. The Daily Star claims Leicester City have joined the race for the forward, who is said to be a target for Chelsea.

- Back at San Siro and Inter have decided to put Matias Vecino on the transfer list, according to CalcioMercato. Vecino, 28, arrived at Inter from Fiorentina in 2017.

Juventus pulled off a transfer coup when they signed Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid on July 10, 2018.

The Portugal great left Madrid as the club's all-time record goalscorer and seeking a new challenge in the autumn years of his career.

Ronaldo remains a master goalscorer and has quickly amassed an impressive record, with Juve in the box seat to claim another Scudetto in 2019-20.

Here, with some help from Opta, we look at the form that means the 35-year-old remains one of the very best players on the planet.

58 – Ronaldo's overall goals tally for Juve has come in 82 appearances.

0.71 – This amounts to a goals per game ratio below the 1.03 he averaged at Madrid, where he netted a scarcely credible 450 in 438 appearances

47 – His Serie A goals haul means he is already the top-scoring Portuguese player in the history of the competition. Since the start of 2018-19, it places Ronaldo fourth in Europe's top leagues, behind Lionel Messi (58), Robert Lewandowski (56) and Kylian Mbappe (51).

26 – This season, Ronaldo's is the first Juventus player to score 26 goals in a single Serie A campaign since Omar Sivori scored 28 in 1959-60.

25 – For the 10th time in his career, Ronaldo has passed 25 goals in a league season. No other player in Europe's top five leagues has bettered this, with Messi having also accomplished the feat on 10 occasions.

30 – For the 11th time in his career, the former Manchester United favourite has registered 30 goals in all competitions this term.

336 – No player in Europe's top divisions has had more shots than Ronaldo over the past two seasons. Only Messi (153) has more than his 133 on target.

5.5 – Ronaldo's shots-per-game average for the Old Lady, down on 6.3 at Madrid.

15 - His assist figure at Juve, from 122 chances created. That's an average of 1.5 per game.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic doubts he will remain at Milan if the situation does not change, while insisting neither he nor the Serie A club belong in the Europa League.

Ibrahimovic returned to Milan – where he previously won the Scudetto in 2011 – as a free agent in January after leaving MLS side LA Galaxy but there are doubts over his future beyond 2019-20.

The 38-year-old striker has scored six goals since his Milan comeback, rejuvenating the team and helping the Rossoneri – seven-time Champions League winners – move into Europa League contention.

Milan are seventh and just two points adrift of Roma and Coppa Italia champions Napoli through 31 league games after stunning leaders Juventus 4-2 on Tuesday.

Despite Milan's resurgence, head coach Stefano Pioli is set to be replaced by German Ralf Rangnick, who has been tipped to combine the role with that of sporting director, which is currently occupied by club legend Paolo Maldini.

Amid the uncertainty and chief executive Ivan Gazidis' reported plans to bring in Rangnick, former Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona star Ibrahimovic issued a warning.

"Ibra plays to win something or he stays at home," Ibrahimovic told La Gazzetta dello Sport's Sportweek magazine in an interview set to be released on Saturday.

"They told me that retiring in America was too easy, so I came back to Milan. I am here purely for passion, because I'm basically playing for free… Then this COVID situation stopped everything and I thought, maybe there’s something trying to tell me that I should retire…

"Fortunately, we got back on the pitch. My calf managed to get involved too, but after two days I was ready to come back into the team. Ibra is like that. But they told me to take it slow."

Ibrahimovic added: "Ibra was born to play football and is still the best at playing football. We'll see how I feel in two months. We'll also see what's happening with the club. If this is the situation, to be honest, it's unlikely you'll see me at Milan next season.

"Ibra is not a player for the Europa League and Milan are not a club who belong in the Europa League."

Quizzed on a reported confrontation with Gazidis prior to the Coppa Italia semi-final, Ibrahimovic said: "I spoke for me and for the team. I needed to have some explanations on the future, both mine and of Milan. I said that this is not the Grande Milan I once experienced, that is true, but we must do the best we can even in this situation. All the way to the end.

"Ibra is here, Ibra takes care of it. I have to be here or you'll lose the fans. I don't know if there will be another club after Milan, I never like to close doors to opportunities. I will only go somewhere I have some control, not where words are worth nothing. I still have too much passion for what I do."

Pioli only replaced Marco Giampaolo in October and while he has overseen an upturn in results, former RB Leipzig boss Rangnick has reportedly agreed to take over in 2020-21.

"Who is Rangnick? I don't even know who he is," Ibrahimovic added.

Inter boss Antonio Conte refused to blame his players after they threw away a lead to draw 2-2 at Hellas Verona on Thursday.

The Nerazzurri had been leading going into the final five minutes at Stadio Marcantonio Bentegodi but Miguel Veloso showed wonderful composure to seal a point for the hosts.

Inter had forged ahead early in the second half thanks to an Antonio Candreva strike and own goal from Federico Dimarco after Darko Lazovic had given Verona a second-minute lead.

It is the second time in five days Inter have thrown away a lead following their 2-1 defeat to Bologna on Sunday but Conte would not be drawn into criticising his side.

"In terms of effort, hunger and determination, I have no complaints," he told Sky Sport Italia. "Let's not forget, we played against a Verona side that keeps a high tempo and makes that its greatest strength. I think Inter replied blow for blow.

"There is the usual regret that we conceded a goal five minutes from time on a throw-in. These are situations that are disappointing because you drop points along the way and they add up. We deserved to win the game.

"Verona barely had a shot on goal in the second half. We conceded through a throw-in and ball across to a player on the edge of the box.

"I don't want to say too much as people love to claim I always criticise, criticise, criticise. I don't; I just want to help everyone improve and move forward."

Inter have now dropped a whopping 20 points from leading positions in Serie A this season, with Conte well aware it is an issue that needs resolving swiftly.

"We're doing important work and I focus on that," he added. "I think you can see the results of the work we're doing. The fact we lost 20 points should push us to reflect and continue improving.

"We're well aware that we dropped points in a stupid fashion throughout the season, otherwise we'd be talking about a very different campaign."

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