Romelu Lukaku has been passed fit to lead Inter's attack in Sunday's Derby d'Italia against Juventus. 

Lukaku sat out the midweek Champions League trip to Barcelona with a muscular problem but the Belgium striker will look to add to three goals in six Serie A appearances when Antonio Conte's men entertain champions Juve at San Siro. 

Maurizio Sarri has given Federico Bernardeschi the nod to start ahead of Aaron Ramsey, while Paulo Dybala will partner Cristiano Ronaldo up front – Gonzalo Higuain reverting to the bench alongside the former Arsenal midfielder. 

Ramsey's old colleague Alexis Sanchez is suspended, meaning he is unable to test Juan Cuadrado, who once again lines up as an emergency right-back for Juventus in the absence of Mattia De Sciglio and Danilo. 

Kwadwo Asamoah will start at left wing-back for Inter against his old club, while Ronaldo will resume a decade long rivalry forged in Madrid against ex-Atletico centre-back Diego Godin in the Nerazzurri defence.

Juventus are chasing a ninth Serie A title in a row this season but trail Inter at the summit by two points after ex-Bianconeri boss Conte's 100 per cent start to life in Milan.

Inter boss Antonio Conte hit out at "vulgar" Juventus supporters who have attempted to airbrush him from their history ahead of his first return to Allianz Stadium.

Conte won 13 major honours with Juve during his playing days and guided them to three successive Serie A titles after making the switch to coaching.

However, the 50-year-old's decision to take charge of bitter rivals Inter earlier this year damaged his relationship with the club's fanbase.

More than 15,000 Juventus fans have signed a petition for Conte's star on their Walk of Fame to be removed and handed to Claudio Marchisio, who announced his playing retirement on Thursday.

President Andrea Agnelli has already rejected the proposal, but Conte has questioned the values of those who signed the petition and wondered whether he made the right decision to return to Italian football, even threatening to quit the sport.

"I'm disappointed that Agnelli had to intervene because it just gave publicity to a vulgar proposition," he said at Saturday's pre-match news conference. "It gave room to a move that showed ignorance, lacking values and education. 

"I didn't even want to discuss this, but you in the media are giving a spotlight to these stupid and ignorant people.

"Those are not fans, they are ignorant. We are fortunate to be involved in the best sport in the world and must set the example, pass on positive values and be enthusiastic about playing football. This is sport, not war. Sometimes people forget that.

"It is a sport that should reflect positive human values, not hate and violence. If that's not the case, then I am the first to walk away. Nobody makes me work as a coach."

He added: "It's increasingly difficult because society nowadays highlights hatred and violence. I've honestly struggled since I came back to Italy from England. I see situations and wonder why I am even doing this.

"As long as my passion for this sport surpasses these issues, then I will continue. If my passion drops, I will be the first to say it's time to call it quits. It won't be a big loss for football, but it won't be a loss for me either."

Sunday's clash at San Siro will see Serie A's top two sides meet and is Conte's first return to the club he spent a combined 16 years with as a player and coach.

While Conte was dismissive of his former club's supporters, he was full of praise for Juve's achievements on the field.

"These are the teams who so far have done better than the others, but we are still only in week seven," he said on the eve of the match. "The real values of the clubs will emerge over time, which is why I always say we'll work out our ambitions later on and see what role we can have in this campaign.

"What we can be sure of is that this is the Derby d’Italia, a big game that everyone wants to watch. We must have desire, enthusiasm and the courage to play this type of match.

"We are up against a side that has set the standard in Serie A for many years and also done well in Europe. The credit goes to those who worked there over the years and created a real flagship team. They worked well and set the example for others, that is beyond doubt."

Alexis Sanchez is ruled out of the match through suspension while Romelu Lukaku, who missed the 2-1 Champions League loss to Barcelona in midweek, remains a fitness doubt.

Asked about his squad depth, Conte said: "I hope to be able to count on more players once the break for international duty arrives and we end this initial run of games.

"It is important for a side like Inter in Serie A, the Champions League and Coppa Italia to get everyone involved.

"Lukaku will play if he can give me the right guarantees on his fitness, otherwise someone else will start."

Maurizio Sarri warned Juventus they will face "a complete team" when they play Inter at San Siro on Sunday and called for the Serie A champions to build on their recent strong performances.

Inter are top of Serie A with a 100 per cent record after six games, while Juve sit two points behind them going into the Derby d'Italia.

Antonio Conte is enjoying the kind of start to life in Milan that he experienced at the Bianconeri, where he achieved an unbeaten first league campaign.

Inter suffered a 2-1 defeat at Barcelona in the Champions League on Wednesday, but Sarri said his men would not be favourites to win.

"We are going up against a strong team, in a moment of good health," Sarri told reporters.

"In this game there are no favourites; I only see two strong teams. It's a great feeling to know how to play a game like this.

"Inter are a complete team, very dangerous and good at bouncing back. It will be a beautiful match.

"It will be important to leave San Siro having made a good performance. Looking at the table would be a gross mistake."

Since Juve's goalless draw at Fiorentina in September handed Inter the advantage in Serie A, Sarri's men collected 2-1 victories over Verona and Brescia before beating SPAL 2-0 at home.

"We must confirm the progress we are making," said Sarri. "At this stage we must be very focused on performance.

"Our average ball recovery line has become higher than the first few matches. There was an improvement.

"We must go and impose our football with quality. Then the game will tell us if we need to adapt to other phases too."

Inter midfielder Nicolo Barella claimed he is prepared to die for Antonio Conte as the Serie A leaders focus on a top-of-the-table clash with Juventus.

San Siro will be the setting for a blockbuster Derby d'Italia when the league's two outstanding teams battle for top spot going into the international break.

Though edged out by Barcelona on Wednesday, Inter have been transformed under Conte this season and take a perfect domestic record into Sunday's game.

Barella's fine form since arriving from Cagliari has aided the Nerazzurri's rise, but the Italy international directed all plaudits to his head coach.

"He has a different attitude, a way of talking to you that gives you something new," Barella told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"For him, I would get myself killed. That applies to all his players and that makes the difference.

"Have you seen how Conte's teams run? It is not just because they are well prepared. It is because of the message he puts in your head."

Barella has appeared in all six of Inter's Serie A matches this term and scored a vital late equaliser in the Champions League draw with Slavia Prague in September.

Yet the 22-year-old might not have joined the club had he pursued an offer to link up with Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea last season.

Juve boss Sarri was in charge at Stamford Bridge at the time but failed to convince his target to abandon Cagliari as they battled relegation.

"Yes, Chelsea wanted me in January," Barella said.

"But it was not an easy time for Cagliari. I said I would stay and make a decision at the end of the season."

Aaron Ramsey warned Juventus need to be wary of the threat posed by his former Arsenal team-mate Alexis Sanchez when the Italian champions face Inter on Sunday.

Sanchez played alongside Ramsey for three-and-a-half seasons at Arsenal, where the pair enjoyed two FA Cup triumphs together, but they go head-to-head in a top-of-the-table-clash at San Siro.

Since joining Inter on loan from Manchester United in August, Sanchez has made three Serie A appearances and opened his goal-scoring account for the club in a 3-1 victory at Sampdoria.

Ramsey scored his first goal since his move from Arsenal to Juventus a week earlier, netting the Bianconeri's equaliser in a 2-1 win over Verona, and he said his side are braced for a tough challenge against the league leaders this weekend.

"Inter have improved this season," Ramsey told BBC Sport.

"Antonio Conte has got them really organised and they have yet to drop any points. It is going to be difficult.

"They have some great players, including one I know very well from my time at Arsenal. We will have to be aware of him and the other players they have and be really on top of our game to get the result we want."

 

Juventus have only dropped two points in Serie A this season but that leaves them trailing Inter who have won all six of their games under new coach Antonio Conte.

Ramsey indicated that he feels Juve will improve as they adapt to the methods and tactics being used by coach Maurizio Sarri, who took charge in June.

"It has been great so far," said Ramsey when asked about working under the former Chelsea coach.

"There have been new ideas and new information, which we are working hard to try to put into practice. At times it hasn't worked as well as we would have liked, but in other parts it really has.

"We are slowly getting better in terms of what he wants to implement and understanding our roles and responsibilities more.

"This club has been so good and so dominant for so long. We know other teams have improved and are trying to knock us off top spot. But this place is all about winning and that is what we are striving for."

One thing you could never accuse Antonio Conte of is shying away from a challenge.

Conte has a history of taking on projects that, from the outside looking in, appear unfavourable to say the least. 

The fiery Italian delivered Serie A and Premier League titles, in his first campaigns at Juventus and Chelsea respectively, against the odds.

These are the formative days of his Inter tenure, but the initial signs suggest that history could be repeating itself as Conte attempts to end a Juve dynasty he himself set in motion.

So crucial to the aforementioned successes were hugely impressive undefeated streaks that defined his triumphs.

With six wins from six league matches, Inter fans can be forgiven for dreaming that the Conte affect is happening at San Siro.

This weekend, Juventus travel to Milan for what is undoubtedly the biggest domestic test Inter have faced in the fledgling Conte's era. 

Ahead of such a blockbuster fixture, Omnisport has taken a look at Conte's previous new-club juggernauts.

CONTE'S INVINCIBLES

Not even the bravest of gamblers would have predicted the sort of impact Conte had upon his return to Juve as head coach in May 2011. After gaining promotion back to the top flight four years previously, having been demoted for their part in the Calciopoli scandal, the Bianconeri set about competing at the top immediately by finishing third and second in the 2007-08 and 2008-09 campaigns.

But when Conte walked back through the doors in Turin, Juventus were at a low ebb, having recorded back-to-back seventh-placed finishes. It was in this context we first witnessed Conte's uncanny ability to turn underachievers into title winners.

Defensive solidity, tactical nous and quick transitions – all Conte trademarks – were to the fore as Juve went unbeaten in Serie A. A tendency to draw looked as though it could derail their aspirations – there were 15 in all from 38 matches and AC Milan actually won more games - but their defence was breached just 20 times in 38 matches. An outstanding end to the season, which saw Juve win 10 of their final 11 games, including a run of eight in a row, emphatically settled the issue and sparked the start to an era of dominance that has returned eight straight titles.

RECORD-BREAKING BLUES

Fast forward to 2016 and it must have felt a little like 'Groundhog Day' for Conte when he took the reins at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea were a club in disarray having finished the 2015-16 season in 10th place, just a year on from winning the Premier League under Jose Mourinho.

A team seemingly split and at odds with one another, Mourinho was sacked in December 2015 with the Blues in 16th position. Guus Hiddink steered the club through choppy waters to the end of the campaign, but any notion Conte could make Chelsea title contenders again seemed fanciful at best. Back-to-back losses against Liverpool and Arsenal in September did little to change that thinking.

But a switch to his trademark three-man defence proved a tactical masterstroke as Londoners embarked upon a then-record winning run of 13 matches in the Premier League. Chelsea would suffer three more defeats, but just one in the last nine games – a run of six straight victories crowning a memorable title triumph.

COMPARISONS TO JOSE?

Inter's golden era in the middle-to-late part of the past decade seems like a lifetime ago. Luciano Spalletti secured fourth-place finishes in his two seasons in charge, but the gap to Juventus remained sizeable – 21 points separated the teams last term. It is a challenge tailor-made for Conte and the early signs are positive, with a 100 per cent record in Serie A including a 2-0 derby win over AC Milan.

Juve are undoubtedly on another level to Inter's embattled neighbours, but with games against Sassuolo, Parma, Brescia, Bologna, Hellas Verona, Torino and SPAL to follow there is an opportunity, on paper at least, for another memorable Conte run.

An interesting point of reference is Inter's starts under Jose Mourinho during his two campaigns at San Siro. The Nerazzurri lost just one of their opening 18 Serie A matches – a derby defeat in September – during the 08-09 campaign and cantered to the title by 10 points. It was a similar story 12 months later, where Mourinho oversaw a famous treble campaign, as Inter lost just once in the first 15 matches of the season.

Claudio Marchisio has labelled defeats in the 2015 Champions League and Euro 2012 finals as the biggest regrets of his career.

Former Juventus stalwart Marchisio confirmed his retirement on Thursday, having been without a club since Zenit agreed to mutually terminate his contract in July.

The 33-year-old had been plagued with injuries in the latter stage of his career, but he was a key cog in Juve's era of Serie A dominance.

In total, Marchisio won 15 trophies, including seven Serie A titles, during his time with Juve, having come through the club's academy.

Marchisio twice featured in the Champions League final – in 2015 and in 2017 – but on both occasions Juve were beaten, first by Barcelona and then Real Madrid.

He also made 55 appearances for Italy, helping them to the final of Euro 2012, in which they suffered a 4-0 defeat to Vicente del Bosque's all-conquering Spain side.

"Let's speak about regrets. In the whole Juventus winning cycle, for sure the regret is the 2015 Champions League final and the 2012 Euros with Italy," Marchisio told a news conference.

"Two moments that, despite a winning spell, [that] they don't appear in my trophy cabinet it is the biggest regret."

Alvaro Morata hauled Juve level against Barca in Berlin in 2015, only for Luis Suarez to nudge the Catalan giants back ahead before Neymar wrapped up a 3-1 triumph late on.

"I wish I could re-play the Champions League final in Berlin," Marchisio added.

"It was a battle with the result we all know. If only we could re-stage it, not even in its entirety, just a part in the second half to score before them."

Marchisio left Juve in 2018 but insists he will never lose his love for the club, although he acknowledged the eight-time defending Serie A champions face a real challenge from Inter this season.

Antonio Conte has rejuvenated Inter since taking over and faces his former club on Sunday, with Marchisio paying tribute to a coach he worked under with both Juve and Italy.

"Inter started very well, getting results and Juventus, at the moment, are behind and have to chase," he said. "It will be a great match. I will watch it as a Juventus fan, and I can't wait to see Juventus win.

"[Inter] are almost the same [in terms of personnel] as last year but are showing a completely different approach and team spirit. That is Conte's hand!"

Inter head coach Antonio Conte was critical of referee Damir Skomina for the levels of respect shown to his players after their 2-1 loss to Barcelona at the Camp Nou.

Luis Suarez scored twice as Barcelona came from behind to beat Conte's side in their Champions League Group F encounter on Wednesday.

Inter were much the better side in the first half and led thanks to an early goal from Lautaro Martinez, but Conte was unhappy with some of the decisions Slovenian Skomina gave against his side.

The 50-year-old had a number of exchanges with Skomina during the game as he vented his frustration on the touchline.

"It says respect on the referee’s shirt, so I told them that it ought to be reciprocal, that they should show respect for those who come here to play football," Conte said.

"I feel quite bitter. It pains to say it, but I saw some incidents that were directed in a certain way. There were many things I didn't like about the refereeing, right from the start. 

"It is an international referee, one with a lot of experience who was in charge of the last Champions League final, so this isn't someone who ought to be influenced by the atmosphere of Camp Nou.

"It was an undeserved defeat. I don't think the result is a fair reflection of the game."

Inter, who sit top of Serie A, were unbeaten under Conte until they faced LaLiga champions Barca.

They now turn their attention to a San Siro clash with Italian champions Juventus, with Conte eager for his players to use the disappointment of this result to fire themselves up for the meeting with Maurizio Sarri's side on Sunday.

"Compliments are nice, but after a performance like that, we deserved much, much more and should've taken at least some of our chances," Conte added.

"We put Barcelona under serious pressure for long periods on their own turf, but after the break they raised the tempo and some fatigue set in with a few of our players.

"Now we lick our wounds and prepare to play Juventus on Sunday. I find it difficult to talk in positive terms after a defeat, because I suffer when we lose.

"We must realise where we can improve to not suffer the way we are at this moment, because we cannot come home happy. That is not the mentality of a great team.

"We played well, but have one point in two games. The situation in the Champions League is compromised and if we want to mature, we’ve got to return home angry."

Champions League holders Liverpool face Salzburg for the first time in their history on Wednesday as Jurgen Klopp aims to extend his unbeaten record at Anfield.

The Reds lost 2-0 to Napoli in their opening group fixture, increasing the importance of a result against a Salzburg side that thrashed Genk 6-2.

Exciting teenager Erling Haaland – son of former Premier League defender Alf-Inge Haaland – scored a first-half hat-trick in that match and should be ready for the trip to Merseyside after battling illness.

Barcelona, meanwhile, could have the fit-again Lionel Messi available for their date with Inter, a chance for the star forward to break his duck against the Serie A side.

Elsewhere, Frank Lampard heads to France in search of his maiden Champions League win in charge of Chelsea, while last season's semi-finalists Ajax visit Valencia.

Here is the pick of the key Opta facts for Wednesday's eight matches.

 

Genk v Napoli

6 - Napoli are without a win in their past six away games in the Champions League group stage (W0 D2 L4), last prevailing on the road with a 2-1 defeat of Benfica in December 2016.

13 - Genk have won none of their 13 Champions League matches (W0 D7 L6). Only Irish side Shamrock Rovers and Maltese outfit Floriana have played more games without winning (14 each) in the competition's history.

 

Liverpool v Salzburg

19 - Reds boss Klopp remains unbeaten after 19 matches at Anfield as Liverpool manager (W15 D4 L0). His streak is 10 games shy of Bob Paisley's club record.

2 - Salzburg striker Haaland will attempt to become the second player to score more than once in each of his first two Champions League appearances, Diego Simeone having done so for Atletico Madrid in September 1996.

 

Slavia Prague v Borussia Dortmund

13 - Czech champions Slavia handed out 13 Champions League debuts in their Group F opener, a 1-1 draw at Inter. The only player to feature who had previously appeared in the competition was Nicolae Stanciu.

68 - Dortmund have scored with just two of their past 68 attempts at goal in the Champions League and have been held goalless in five of their six most recent outings.

 

Barcelona v Inter

3 - Barca captain Messi has been directly involved in 15 goals in his past 17 games against Italian teams (12 goals, three assists), but has failed to score in any of his three Champions League meetings with Inter.

2003 - Inter boss Antonio Conte was an unused substitute for Juventus the last time an Italian coach won a Champions League match at Camp Nou, a quarter-final clash in 2003. Marcello Lippi was in charge of the visitors.

 

RB Leipzig v Lyon

5 - Each of Timo Werner's five Champions League goals have been scored away from home. No player has hit more on the road without scoring in their own stadium.

18 - Lyon striker Moussa Dembele is one game away from equalling former AEK Athens midfielder Vassilios Tsiartas' unwanted record for most Champions League appearances without winning, which stands at 18 (set between 1994 and 2003).

 

Zenit v Benfica

9 - Artem Dzyuba has been involved in nine goals in nine Champions League matches for Zenit, scoring six times and registering three assists, including one for Sardar Azmoun in his side's 1-1 draw against Lyon.

10 - Since the start of the 2017-18 season, Benfica have lost more Champions League group stage games (10) than any other team.

 

Lille v Chelsea

8 - Ligue 1 side Lille are winless in eight Champions League home matches since a 3-1 victory over AEK in October 2006, having gone undefeated in their first eight at home.

2 - Frank Lampard is in danger of becoming the second Englishman to lose his first two matches as a manager in the Champions League, after Ray Harford with Blackburn Rovers in September 1995.

 

Valencia v Ajax

2 - Valencia, 1-0 winners at Chelsea in their Group H opener, are looking to start a Champions League campaign with two consecutive victories for the first time since 2006-07, when Quique Sanchez Flores was in charge.

41 - Ajax captain Dusan Tadic has created 41 chances in the Champions League since the start of last season, more than any other player in the same period.

Romelu Lukaku will miss Inter's blockbuster Champions League clash against Barcelona due to injury.

The Belgium striker has not travelled to Camp Nou with the Nerazzurri squad for the Group F clash against the reigning La Liga champions due to a muscular issue.

It remains to be seen if Lukaku will be fit for the huge Serie A contest with Juventus on Sunday, but head coach Antonio Conte is hopeful the quadricep problem is not too serious.

"Lukaku isn't here, he had a slight muscular issue in the quadricep that he has been carrying for 10 days," Conte said a pre-match news conference.

"He was continuing to feel the problem and the tests were negative, but we preferred in any case not to risk him. We have to rely on how the player feels in these cases.

"It's not a tear, so we are fairly relaxed and will focus on that [if he can face Juve] only after tomorrow's game with Barcelona."

Alexis Sanchez says leaving Manchester United for Inter has allowed him to fall in love with football again.

Sanchez scored only three Premier League goals in 32 appearances after signing for United from Arsenal in 2018.

The Chile international saw his unhappy spell at Old Trafford come to an end when he was allowed to join Inter on a season-long loan.

He made his first start for the club in Saturday's 3-1 Serie A win at Sampdoria, scoring his maiden Nerazzurri goal before being dismissed for two quickfire bookings before half-time.

Sanchez has reunited with ex-United striker Romelu Lukaku at San Siro and he feels coach Antonio Conte's desire has helped him to settle in Milan.

"It was a bit like falling in love with football again," Sanchez told UEFA.com. 

"I already knew the coach and some players, and I think the club is preparing something nice for the future.

"If I'm not mistaken, Inter haven't won anything for seven or eight years.

"Yes, it was a bit like finding love for football, together with the desire to win something with this club.

"I believe the coach wants to win everything. You can see it from how we train and how we play games. He conveys his desire to the players and is positive for both the club and the team in general."

Inter head coach Antonio Conte urged his players to take the intensity of their performances in Serie A into crunch games with Barcelona and Juventus.

Conte's side played virtually half of their 3-1 win over Sampdoria on Saturday with 10 men as they maintained their 100 per cent winning run.

Inter secured victory thanks to goals from Stefano Sensi, Alexis Sanchez and Roberto Gagliardini, while Jakub Jankto netted for Sampdoria.

Sanchez, on loan from Manchester United, had a particularly eventful game as he scored his first Inter goal and was then sent off a minute into the second half for a second bookable offence.

Inter are two points clear of Juventus at the top of Serie A after six straight victories and Conte wants to use that as a springboard as they head to Camp Nou before hosting the Italian champions at the weekend.

"We need to recover our energy to make an intense match so we can make it difficult for Barca," said Conte. "I do not have to tell you the opposition teams we are playing.

"If you want to put Barcelona in difficulty, you have to play an intense game but at the same time you have to be good at limiting and not letting them play, otherwise it becomes a problem.

"You also have to be good at dribbling and building. This beginning in the league is the result of so much work and a lot of willingness on the part of the boys."

The victory saw Conte equal Roberto Mancini's best start to a season, although he still needs two more wins to overtake legendary Inter head coach Helenio Herrera's record of seven in the 1966-67 season.

 

Alexis Sanchez scored before being sent off in a dramatic first Inter start as his side battled to a 3-1 away win over Sampdoria.

Inter made it six victories from six in Serie A, ensuring they kept the two-point lead over Juventus at the top of the table that they held at the start of Saturday.

Two goals in the space of 128 first-half seconds from Stefano Sensi and Sanchez had Antonio Conte's men on course for a dominant victory in response to Juve's earlier win over SPAL.

Sanchez received a second yellow for diving early in the second half and there was brief alarm for 10-man Inter when that was followed by a strike from Samp's Jakub Jankto, but Roberto Gagliardini wrapped up the points.

After a scrappy opening 20 minutes, Inter scored two goals in rapid succession.

First, in-form Sensi fired in an effort from 30 yards which struck Sanchez on the back and deflected past Emil Audero in the Sampdoria goal.

Then, on Inter's next attack, another Sensi strike that was hit less cleanly was latched on to by an opportunistic Sanchez, who knew more about this one as he pounced to slot in from inside the six-yard box.

Antonio Candreva's goal from a Sanchez chipped pass was ruled out for offside before Lautaro Martinez fired wide from one good chance and struck another straight at the keeper.

Audero denied Sensi as Inter ended the first half in complete control but the match took a dramatic twist 54 seconds after the restart. When a Martinez shot was saved, Sanchez went down under pressure from Julian Chabot, who appeared to back out of the challenge.

That immediately earned Sanchez a second booking – his first having come just before the break for a foul on Albin Ekdal.

Samp's first shot on target got them back into the match, Jankto collecting a pass from Karol Linetty before turning and finding the bottom corner with an angled left-footed strike – his first league goal for the club.

But just after the hour mark – six minutes after Jankto's strike - weak goalkeeping from Audero meant Marcelo Brozovic's over-hit pass was eventually parried into the path of Gagliardini to tap in.
 

What does it mean? Inter poised for pivotal week

Romelu Lukaku, Danilo D'Ambrosio and Nicolo Barella – who all came on after Jankto's goal - were rested by Conte along with Diego Godin ahead of a crucial week that sees Inter take on Barcelona and Juve in their two main competitions.

Sanchez's dramatic debut was the interesting talking point here, but the bigger picture is Inter's magnificent start domestically and another confident performance in a game they dominated despite playing half of it with 10 men.

Samp are bottom as the pressure grows on boss Eusebio Di Francesco.

Supreme Sensi shines again

Sensi already looks like one of the signings of the season. He continued his fine form here and ended with a stat line that read one goal, one assist and two key passes.

The midfielder also had another shot well saved just before the break and Conte took no risks with the match safe at 3-1 with 25 minutes to go, bringing Sensi off to keep him fresh for the key week ahead.

Martinez needs goals to keep starting spot

Martinez has impressed with his all-round play this season, but with Lukaku and Sanchez among Inter's attacking options he will want to improve his goalscoring rate to remain a prominent part of Conte's plans.

He had three excellent chances in this game but could not covert any of them, Audero denying him twice while another effort was fired wide. Martinez is undoubtedly an extremely promising player, but seven Serie A goals in 33 games is a record that needs to get better.

What's next?

It is a huge week for Inter, who are at Camp Nou on Wednesday for Champions League business before they meet Juve in the Derby d'Italia at San Siro on October 6.

Samp are in desperate need of points when they travel to Hellas Verona next Saturday.

Alexis Sanchez has been handed his first start for Inter in their Serie A clash with Sampdoria on Saturday.

Sanchez joined Inter on a season-long loan from Manchester United last month but has managed a combined total of just 17 minutes in two substitute appearances.

He lines up alongside Lautaro Martinez in attack, with Romelu Lukaku dropping to the bench.

Antonio Conte has made a host of changes from the side that beat Lazio in midweek, with Alessandro Bastoni, Antonio Candreva, Roberto Gagliardini, Stefano Sensi and Kwadwo Asamoah all coming into the starting XI.

Inter head coach Antonio Conte says the club are working hard to help Alexis Sanchez rediscover his golden touch.

Sanchez joined Inter on a season-long loan from Manchester United in a bid to revive his career after a substantial dip in form at Old Trafford, having previously impressed for Arsenal.

However, the Chile forward has managed a combined total of just 17 minutes in two substitute appearances for Inter this season.

Conte has promised Sanchez more game time in the near future as Inter seek to reinvigorate the 30-year-old's fortunes on the pitch.

"It is up to us to help him find the form and the brilliance he has lost a little," Conte told a news conference on Friday, ahead of Inter's match with Sampdoria.

"Alexis is a footballer who has certain characteristics. He is a tough player, and sooner or later you will see him on the pitch.

"Each of us has room for improvement. For some it will be a path that is more simple; for others more complex.

"We have room for improvement in everything and my job is to try to improve the players in all aspects.

"I am always very cautious; we need to improve in everything and do not think that it comes with the magic wand and everything improves."

Unbeaten Inter are top of Serie A having chalked up five straight victories, although Conte urged caution and warned his players not to let their intensity drop off.

"We've got five in a row and it's important, but we're just getting started," he said.

"We must continue with the same desire, trying to improve ourselves.

"If you want to be a protagonist and become a big and strong team, you need points, stability, certainties. We are trying to improve in this respect.

"We are not the first to win the first five games. This group was leader of the league two years ago and ended up in the Champions League only on the final day.

"Even with (Roberto) Mancini, it was like that. Good horses are only seen on arrival."

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