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08-Nov-2020, 12:12 am

'People sometimes forget the human side' - Conte counts Inter's coronavirus toll

Conte Inter Champions League

Antonio Conte conceded the coronavirus pandemic is taking a continued toll onInter'sform as his squad once again suffered from disrupted preparations ahead of Sunday's Serie A trip toAtalanta.

Fellow back-up goalkeeper Ionut Radu and midfielderRobertoGagliardinimust repeat tests after giving inconclusiveresults.

Gagliardiniand Radu returned to Conte's squad for last weekend's 2-2 draw against Parma after their respective positive tests in October brought about four-match absences.

Speaking at a pre-match news conference, Conte confirmed star strikerRomeluLukaku was back in contention following an adductor problem, but the shadow of the virus still looms over a playing group where defenders Achraf Hakimi and MilanSkriniarhave also been affected.

"It is pointless saying it does not have an impact. We are all affected by this. The players and the families," Conte said ahead of a trip to one of the areas of Italy worsthitby the ongoing health crisis.

"We train and prepareand don’t always have a full squad.

"It is a hard situation for us all. We need to take it on and do our best. People sometimes forget the human side. It is not an easy situation for us."

In an occasionally terse briefing, Conte bridled at suggestions he might be concerned for his job after the dramatic 3-2 Champions League defeat to Real Madrid in midweek meant Inter have won just one of their past seven matches across all competitions.

Inter'stwo defeats during the recent slump have come by a single goal and the 0-0 draw atShakhtarDonetsk was the only time they have failed to score, leaving their coach to expand onhis players finding themselves on the wrong side of some fine margins.

"You are talking about the minor details. We need to work hard. We need to keep at it," Conte said.

"Weneedto make sure we wipe out the gap to the best teams. I have told this to the players.

"There is still a gap to cut. We are almost there but not there yet."

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