Conte anxious over 'warrior' Barella after Inter extend impressive start

By Sports Desk November 23, 2019

Inter boss Antonio Conte was praying for good news on the fitness of Nicolo Barella after the midfielder's knee injury was the lone negative in an impressive 3-0 Serie A win at Torino.

Barella, who scored the dramatic winner against Hellas Verona prior to the international break, had to be withdrawn on the stroke of half-time on Saturday and visibly indicated his pain to medical staff.

Inter confirmed the 22-year-old had suffered "a right knee sprain which will be assessed in the coming days" and Conte is hoping the setback will not be serious.

He is already without a host of players including Stefano Sensi, Roberto Gagliardini, Matteo Politano, Alexis Sanchez and Kwadwo Asamoah.

Former Chelsea and Italy boss Conte voiced concerns over the size of his squad after the Champions League loss to Borussia Dortmund earlier this month and does not want another absentee.

"I really hope Barella doesn’t have anything particularly serious," Conte said to DAZN after goals from Lautaro Martinez, Stefan de Vrij and Romelu Lukaku saw off Torino and brought Inter back to within a point of leaders Juventus.

"Barella has grown exponentially over the last four months. He is a very important player for us and we can only hope the test results are not too bad. He's a warrior and I hope he's back on the pitch soon.

"The emergency situation unfortunately continues but we can only thank our players for all their efforts, and we will continue to give more than our best.

"The players are really sacrificing themselves and can see the fruits of their labour. They have spent hours on the pitch and in the video room."

Conte had bizarrely advised his players on their sex lives ahead of the game at Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino.

Rather than revisiting that topic, it was Inter's clean sheet that he discussed after the convincing victory.

"I'm especially happy for the players who are getting big results, but the thing that makes me happiest is not conceding," Conte added.

"It was a good defensive performance and that is very important because we know that if we can be tight at the back then we are in good shape as we will score sooner or later."

The 11 wins from 13 league matches to start a campaign equals Inter's best sequence, previously achieved in 1950-51, while they have also recorded victories in their first seven away top-flight games for the first time.

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