Antonio Conte insisted Christian Eriksen would get his chances at Inter this season.

Eriksen, 28, joined the Serie A giants from Tottenham in January, but has struggled for game time since his arrival.

The Denmark international said last week he wanted more opportunities, having made just nine Serie A starts since joining Inter.

While Conte said Eriksen had been given his chances, he expects further opportunities for the former Ajax star.  

"He is playing enough. Of course, my choices are for the benefit of the team, then I could even go wrong," the Inter coach told a news conference on Friday ahead of the derby against Milan.

"However, I am happy about what Eriksen is giving Inter now, how he gelled in this squad and I think he is happy to be with this group and with me and my staff. He will have chances for sure because the season will be long and hard.

"[On Saturday] I will have only four midfielders, three will play and the other will come on later.

"On Wednesday we will play another tough game against Borussia Monchengladbach but, anyway, I think Eriksen has had many chances and has proven his talent to Inter. Just like the other players."

Inter have picked up seven points from their opening three Serie A games to sit fifth in the table.

Alexis Sanchez has not been ruled out of the derby between Inter and Milan despite returning from international duty with a muscle strain.

Sanchez and Chilean compatriot Arturo Vidal were the last of Inter's players to return following their participation in a pair of South American World Cup qualifying games for their country.

Both were on target in a 2-2 draw with Colombia on Tuesday, though Sanchez may be reduced to the role of spectator for the Milan derby.

Speaking at a media conference, Inter coach Antonio Conte said: "He came back with a muscle strain last night [Thursday].

"We will do some evaluations today during training. It is inevitable that we will be very careful because this is the first of a cycle of seven games that will be played every three days.

"We will take the right risk, that's for sure. If Sanchez will be available it is because he will give guarantees and because he himself takes the responsibility of saying that he is fine."

Asked by a member of the Chilean press about reports Sanchez had already been ruled out, Conte replied: "He was visited today by doctors, he is to be evaluated during training by hearing his opinion and feeling with his body, and possibly with fatigue, then we will make decisions. Nothing is ruled out at the moment."

Conte will have to alter his preparations for Saturday's game given the tight turnaround from the international fixtures.

He said: "Surely if I had had the possibility to choose, I would have preferred to have at least one more day to prepare, but we know that there are calendars to be respected, nationally and internationally, and we will adapt.

"We will prepare the game today, we will not have much time between video analysis and the blackboard to shorten the training a little, which should not be too intense and demanding since they played a short time ago."

The derby would normally be contested amid a cacophonous atmosphere at San Siro, with the stakes of this famous fixture only heightened by the two sides' respective strong starts to the new season.

Milan have a 100 per cent record in Serie A with three wins from three, while Inter are also unbeaten but two points behind the Rossoneri.

"Playing without an audience is not nice," said Conte. "We work, we sweat just to satisfy the people who come to the stadium, who often and willingly give up something from their private life to pay for the ticket.

"We are sorry that there is not this possibility, this exchange of emotions, between those who play during the match and the fan in the stands.

"I repeat a concept again: let's try to be as collaborative and proactive as possible to get out of this situation. We help those who have to make decisions.

"To the fans, who were important in the comeback in the last derby, I say that we will always give our best for the colours of our jersey."

Romelu Lukaku believes Inter are firmly on course to end their trophy drought thanks to the team buying into Antonio Conte's work ethic.

Former Manchester United striker Lukaku says working with Conte has transformed his game, declaring he feels like a changed player since moving to San Siro.

A Serie A title challenge fizzled out last season, although Inter finished only one point behind Juventus after the champions lost their final two games.

Inter also reached the Europa League final, where silverware hopes were thwarted as they lost 3-2 to Sevilla, and they have not won a major honour since the 2010-11 Coppa Italia.

Doubts over Conte's future followed the European disappointment, but he has been backed to stay at the helm and Lukaku is delighted the former Juventus, Italy and Chelsea boss remains the Nerazzurri's head coach.

"With Conte I improved my game in every aspect," said Lukaku, who was recently named as the 2019-20 Europa League Player of the Season.

"If you want to play for him you have to know you have to be ready to sacrifice for the team. Your physical and mental level need to be at the top and if you then achieve on the field you can feel at your very best."

Speaking at the Festival dello Sport, Lukaku said it was important to keep working on the team's hunger for success.

He said: "My goal as a footballer is to win trophies and with him I can do that. I give 100 per cent for him in every training session and games, and you can see the results are coming. We have to keep going and training and improve our attitude to win."

The Belgian reflected on how playing behind closed doors during the pandemic has affected footballers and recalled how crowd noise would have spared him embarrassment during a game in the closing weeks of last season.

"It's very ugly, first of all because you can hear everything," Lukaku said.

"I remember against Brescia I was in a good position to strike but they didn't pass me the ball and you could hear me swearing on TV.

"And then I saw all the reactions on Twitter and I started laughing. But anyway, we need our supporters in the stadium and we want them back.

"The energy when we play in San Siro and you score a goal in front of your supporters, it's incredible. I hope we can see fans back in the stadium sooner rather than later."

Inter striker Romelu Lukaku has taken aim at critics who suggested he did not work hard enough in the Manchester United side.

The Belgium international spent two seasons with the Red Devils before leaving for the Nerazzurri last year in a deal worth in the region of €65million.

United's attacking trio of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood flourished in Lukaku's absence, while the former Everton man has thrived in Italy, scoring 34 goals in all competitions last season.

He was also named the Europa League player of the season after firing Inter to the final, where his own goal saw them lose 3-2 to Sevilla.

Lukaku's form has made a mockery of some criticism he received during his time in England, where it was sometimes suggested he was too slow and did not put in enough effort to lead the attacking line.

Speaking to the Times, Lukaku says he has proved those people wrong, although he insists the negativity around his performances was outside United rather than within.

"A year ago, when I was in England, I was 'lazy, I didn't run, I didn't do this and that'. Here, they call me the hardest worker in the room," he said. "If you look at me playing here and there, I mean, there are improvements, yeah, but the [same] Rom is still here.

"Stuff happens in football but it's something you need to explain to the next generation of kids, that you need to have full control over your destiny. Make sure when you go somewhere that every piece of the puzzle has to be right. Know what I mean? At the time, we saw the outcome, we saw how I did. And if you look at me now you see a different outcome, you see the full person, you see the full potential. You see what I could have been doing in England.

"From the first friendly game when I played against LA Galaxy, from that first game it was always 'Yes, but... Everybody in the club was so nice, from Ed Woodward to the owners, to Matthew Judge [transfer negotiator], to Jose Mourinho, to Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] and his staff, to everybody in the canteen. They were so nice. But the stuff around it was just too much of a negative spiral for me.

"They will call me slow and I'm like, 'Slow? Me, slow? I cannot keep up with the fast pace game of Man U?' There were too many little things where I thought, 'This is not right'.

"If you call me slow I would not score a goal like I scored the second against Shakhtar Donetsk in the [Europa League] semi-final. If I was slow I would not have got the penalty like I did against Sevilla in the final. That's two years after. Are you going to say me at 27 is faster than I was at 25? That's what I'm trying to say. It's just little things. I was like, 'You know what? Eff this. I'm out.'"

Lukaku says Inter coach Antonio Conte, who tried to sign the player when he was with Juventus and Chelsea, has taken him to "another level".

He also believes the atmosphere within the Inter squad is strong, saying: "When I was in England, it was English players here, foreign French players there, foreign latino players there.

"It's all really like a mix up of the team, but at Inter, it is everybody together. Everybody speaks Italian first of all, so that's a good thing. There is one language. Everybody speaks Italian and everybody mixes at the table."

Lukaku holds no grudges against United, though, and has cautioned them against the panic-buying of a new attacking player given the development of Martial, Rashford and Greenwood.

He said: "I hear a lot of people saying, 'Let's buy another this, let's buy another striker, let's buy that'. If you buy another striker, what are you going to do with Anthony? Anthony is a good player. He's young. He's now being the number nine at a great club. Last year, he scored 23 goals. Give him a full season to confirm what he did last year instead of bringing in someone big to disrupt the chemistry in the dressing room.

"Then you have Mason's transition that is going to happen any time soon from right wing to number nine, and Mason is a killer. Like, I've seen him first-hand. He's got something.

"I remember Rashy came to my house [shortly before the Inter move]. We had dinner. Me, him and his older brother. I said to him, 'When I'm leaving, you're going to be the guy at United'. I'm so proud of him right now."

Antonio Conte praised the attacking display of his Inter side in their 5-2 win over Benevento but conceded they must find the right balance after conceding two more goals.

Inter followed up their dramatic 4-3 victory over Fiorentina on the opening weekend of the Serie A season with another high-scoring win in Wednesday's clash at Stadio Ciro Vigorito.

Romelu Lukaku got the ball rolling inside 28 seconds and doubled his tally after Roberto Gagliardini had put the visitors 2-0 up.

Achraf Hakimi enjoyed an impressive debut and was also on the scoresheet, as was Barcelona-linked striker Lautaro Martinez, with Gianluca Caprari netting twice for Benevento.

Inter's return of nine goals from their opening two top-flight matches is the most they have managed since 1961-62, but Conte can see room for improvement at the other end.

"The most satisfying thing for a coach is to see that when the players change, the general approach and performance remains the same," he told Sky Sport Italia.

"This is a team that attacks, creates many chances, so inevitably we leave something at the back. 

"We conceded two goals again today, so need to have a look at the balance, but I enjoy myself watching this Inter play. We are building on a whole year of foundations, that is the important thing. 

"We can also change between a playmaker and a trequartista even during a match, which makes us more unpredictable in attack.

"The lads deserve praise - let's not forget Benevento were coming off a victory away to Sampdoria. We had the right approach, but there's work to be done and we'll do it."

Inter have collected maximum points from their first two matches but Conte has repeatedly insisted they are not title favourites.

Asked why he is so prudent when it comes to his side's Scudetto hopes, the former Chelsea boss responded: "I didn't ask anyone for anything.

"Don't put words in my mouth or invent things. We should be enthusiastic that people see us as contenders, because that means they have respect for the club and the players.

"It should be satisfying, because people see potential in us. Don't forget, for many years Inter were considered outsiders. 

"The fact we are seen differently now means Inter regained credibility. That will also make it more difficult, because opponents will raise their game against us, but it's gratifying."

One sour note for Inter was the sight of Arturo Vidal leaving the field early in the second half but Conte is unconcerned about any sort of lay-off for the new signing.

"Arturo got a knock to his thigh, so with the result looking good and he seemed to be struggling with the bruise," he said. 

"I preferred not to risk leaving him out there. I’m not worried, he's a warrior and always ready for battle."

Inter coach Antonio Conte is anxious for the transfer window to close because it can cause worries for players while it is open.

The Nerazzurri began the 2020-21 Serie A season with a 4-3 win over a Franck Ribery-inspired Fiorentina on Saturday, with late goals courtesy of Romelu Lukaku and Danilo D'Ambrosio completing a dramatic turnaround.

While the win highlighted their effectiveness in attack, it did raise some questions regarding the defence – though Conte does not seem to think there is a great need to make changes.

After all, when asked about transfers on Tuesday ahead of the trip to Benevento, Conte was completely dismissive, stating he would rather the transfer window was not even open for the good of the players.

Inter striker Lautaro Martinez had been linked to Barcelona, although that has since gone quiet, while Milan Skriniar could join Tottenham after not proving an ideal fit for Conte's defensive structure.

When asked if he anticipated seeing a "different Inter" after the final week of the transfer window, Conte told reporters: "It would be fairer for the directors to answer that.

"I, like all coaches, can't wait for this transfer period to end. As long as it remains open, it can often create anxieties and worries for the players.

"I hope for that [the window to close]. The rest is for the thoughts of the executives, who are trying to do their job in the best way."

Radja Nainggolan, who returned from a loan spell with Cagliari last season, is among those seemingly most likely to leave Inter, though Conte again showed no interest in the topic.

"I repeat, ask the directors about signings and sales," he said. "It does not seem correct to me to talk about individuals. These are questions to be asked exclusively to those who deal with them."

But Conte was a little more forthcoming regarding his next opponents, who are coached by a man he knows well: fellow "football addict" Filippo Inzaghi.

"I expect a tough game. Last year they won Serie B with many games to spare," he said. "Inzaghi was a team-mate of mine, I know what he can give to the team.

"I'm happy for him and how he started. His guys in Marassi [the 3-2 win at Sampdoria] showed character. Great attention will be needed.

"As I said before, I had the pleasure of playing with [Inzaghi] both in Juventus and in the national team. We have shared many emotions for years.

"He is passionate, a football addict like me. He studies football and I was sure he would do well. I'm happy for him."

Antonio Conte enjoyed seeing his substitutions pay off as Inter claimed a roller coaster 4-3 win over Fiorentina in Serie A, but warned championships are not won with cavalier football.

Inter came from behind with two goals in the final five minutes of a wild game in their season opener against Fiorentina at San Siro on Saturday.

Franck Ribery was outstanding for Fiorentina and teed up two goals in the second half, with substitute Dusan Vlahovic squandering a chance to give the visitors a 4-2 lead after another exceptional piece of play from the veteran Frenchman.

Ribery was hauled off after 83 minutes, with Fiorentina taking the chance to give him a rest, but the Viola were then rocked by late goals from Romelu Lukaku and Danilo D'Ambrosio that earned 2019-20 Europa League runners-up Inter all three points.

Inter head coach Conte sent on Achraf Hakimi and Alexis Sanchez, and it was their crosses that led to the late goals. Like Hakimi, former Barcelona player Arturo Vidal was introduced off the bench for a Nerazzurri debut in the second half.

Conte said via Inter's website: "The changes brought benefits. I am happy and the guys know it. It will be a long and tiring season. There will be room for everyone and everyone will be needed.

"The three points are important, we have had many chances and we found the way to goal four times.

"This is the positive aspect but at the same time we cannot concede three goals like this."

The former Juventus and Italy boss said Inter lacked the right balance between defence and attack.

"In this respect we were not careful and we need to improve," Conte said. "If you want to play high-level championships, balance is the basis of everything."

Conte also saw signs from Christian Eriksen that the former Tottenham midfielder could have a big role to play this season, having struggled to adapt to Serie A last term.

"Compared to when he arrived he has increased the engine revs, he is playing in his ideal position," Conte said.

"I think he had a good game. We are working with him because we know he has important qualities.

"I have faith in him, he is a guy who trains very well and makes himself available to the team. I hope he will soon be able to strike the spark that will take him to the maximum."

Ivan Perisic has returned to Inter with desire and enthusiasm, coach Antonio Conte said amid transfer talk about the attacker.

Perisic is back with the Serie A giants after spending 2019-20 on loan at Bayern Munich, where he won the Champions League, Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal.

The Croatia international, who arrived at Inter from Wolfsburg in 2015, has again been linked with a move amid reported interest from Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain.

But, ahead of Inter's Serie A opener against Fiorentina on Saturday, Conte said Perisic had returned with a renewed determination.

"I am happy for Ivan, because in the end he had an incredible experience with Bayern Munich, a winning one, in which he won three trophies," he told a news conference.

"Now he's back, with great determination to play for Inter and help us out, to put himself at the service of the team, and I am happy that he's got this desire.

"Also, because when you've got this kind of determination, this enthusiasm, this desire, in the end everything gets easier for the coach."

Inter finished second in Serie A last season, but have added the likes of Achraf Hakimi, Arturo Vidal and Aleksandar Kolarov to their squad.

The arrival of Vidal from Barcelona was confirmed this week as the midfielder reunites with Conte after the pair worked together at Juventus.

"Arturo Vidal is in good shape, he arrived in good physical condition," Conte said.

"Tactically, he is a player that has already played with me, but at the same time we're doing new stuff now compared to the past, when he was one of my players.

"Therefore, he is integrating well, he's a smart player, tactically, physically, he's got a great mindset.

"In our midfield, he can do everything. He can be one of the two central midfielders, he can play as an offensive one, he can play together with a low playmaker should we decide to do that. He can play in any role and we are happy to have him with us."

Antonio Conte knows he will not be able spend big in the transfer window but did not rule out a move for N'Golo Kante and appeared to dismiss the prospect of selling Christian Eriksen.

Inter chief executive Giuseppe Marotta stated during a press conference on Friday that the club will "try to seize opportunities" in the transfer market but will not make large investments.

Achraf Hakimi and Arturo Vidal are among the new signings for the Nerazzurri ahead of their first game of the Serie A season against Fiorentina on Saturday.

Inter have also been linked with Chelsea midfielder Kante along with the likes of Schalke centre-back Ozan Kabak and Fiorentina defender Nikola Milenkovic.

It has been reported that midfield duo Eriksen or Marcelo Brozovic could be allowed to leave, while Tottenham are said to have held talks with Inter over a deal for Milan Skriniar.

Conte gave little away when asked about potential deals after the head coach committed his future to Inter following an outburst at the end of last season that put his future in doubt.

Asked about Inter's strategy in the transfer market and the possibility of signing Kante, he said: "Times have changed compared to [Romelu] Lukaku [who joined Inter in a big-money move from Manchester United last August].

"It was an important operation and we managed to convince the president to take him. Operations like those give us credibility. Marotta has already spoken a lot about the market. We know the strategy, we are united and we have embraced this project.

"When we are clear and always tell the truth, then we find benefits from a similar situation."

He added: "The players who have arrived can bring experience, Hakimi will be important. In total agreement with the club we have evaluated and chosen a strategy taking into account what the owners have just said, that is the situation we are going through like all the other clubs. serenity and harmony.

"We must consolidate the credibility of last year. We are implementing a strategy for the good of Inter."

Marotta made it clear Inter would have to cut their cloth accordingly amid a coronavirus pandemic that has had a significant impact on the finances of clubs all over the world.

He said: "The club's task is to set up the squad in the best possible way while respecting the limitations that exist. We are in a pandemic and all clubs are turning their attention to financial sustainability.

"All clubs have lower revenues, closed stadiums, disputes. it is not it is a coincidence that no team has invested heavily in the market.

"We will do everything possible following the policy we are implementing. We will try to seize opportunities but there will be no large investments and large operations."

Juventus' faltering end to their Serie A campaign saw Inter finish just one point behind the Bianconeri in 2019-20.

Antonio Conte's side had looked like genuine title challengers in the first half of the season, yet a poor run pre-lockdown saw them all but fall out of contention before a late charge – combined with Juve's inconsistencies – made things tight after the title was already wrapped up.

Yet heading into Conte's second season, there should be genuine optimism at San Siro.

Inter may have failed to win the Europa League – going down to serial champions Sevilla in the final – but with Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez, along with some promising new additions, they look all set for a strong title tilt this time around.

Juve, under the tutelage of Andrea Pirlo in the wake of Maurizio Sarri's sacking, still have the Cristiano Ronaldo factor, though there is a feeling the club's dominance of Serie A may finally be waning. 

Using Opta data, we take a look at what Inter need to improve on if they are to seriously challenge in 2020-21.

CONTE'S SECOND-SEASON SYNDROME

Despite Inter's second-placed finish in Serie A, there was some doubt that Conte would in fact remain their head coach heading into this season.

Indeed, in early August – prior to the final stages of the Europa League taking place in Germany – Conte told DAZN: "There's no recognition of the work I've done, and I've found very little protection from the club. None whatsoever. There will be things to discuss with the president, but he's in China right now..."

However, Conte has stayed, and will look to build on a promising first campaign.

Inter's haul of 82 points last season was their best tally in Serie A since 2009-10. It also meant Inter were the eighth side since 1994-95 to not win the Scudetto after managing 82 points or more.

Yet with the last two club teams Conte has coached, there has been a decline in his second campaign.

In Conte's first season at Juve in 2011-12, his side won the Serie A title without losing a game – Ilario Castagner and Fabio Capello were the only coaches to have previously managed this in Italy's top flight.

Juve lost five times in Serie A in 2012-13 but still won the title, and there was a similar story at Chelsea. The Blues won the Premier League with 93 points in 2016-17, losing only five games, but in Conte's second term, Chelsea finished fifth, losing on 10 occasions.

If Inter truly are to go one step further than last season, then Conte will need to avoid any noticeable dip.

THE STAR STRIKERS

Ronaldo's 31 Serie A goals ultimately proved the difference for Juve last season, with the 35-year-old turning in more match-winning moments.

Valuable support also came from Juve's other main forward, Paulo Dybala, who netted 11 goals and provided six assists.

Conte, on the other hand, often complained over a lack of clinical finishing from his side at times last term, though Lukaku and Martinez more than did their fair share.

They scored a combined 37 goals – Lukaku netting 23 and Martinez 14 – providing two and three assists respectively.

It was still five fewer goals than Ronaldo and Dybala accumulated, though, while Juve's strike partners also boasted better link-up statistics.

In total, Dybala found Ronaldo 121 times across the campaign, crafting 31 chances for his team-mate – compare that with Martinez creating just 11 for Lukaku.

Ronaldo did not fully return the favour, with only nine chances created for Dybala by the former Real Madrid star, while Lukaku provided 14 chances for Martinez.

MORE CLEAN SHEETS REQUIRED

Inter ended the 2019-20 season with the best defence in Serie A, conceding only 36 goals, but that does not tell the whole story.

Conte's side managed just 14 clean sheets across the campaign – since 2004-05, only Juve, in 2019-20, have won Serie A with fewer than 15 shut outs.

In Milan Skriniar, Conte has a commanding centre-half who is not yet near his prime, while Diego Godin - if he stays - is a reliable older head and Stefan de Vrij has impressed, but as a unit they were sometimes liable to defensive lapses which, in matches where Inter's strike force failed to make the most of their opportunities, ultimately cost the Nerazzurri.

Under the guidance of Conte from 2011 to 2014, Juve kept 21, 19 and 22 clean sheets respectively in those three seasons.

SAN SIRO TROUBLES?

Inter were outstanding away from home in Serie A last season, collecting more points on the road than any other side (43), winning 13 matches, drawing four times and losing just twice.

They were only the second club with 13 or more away wins in a single campaign to not win the title, after Napoli, who did so in both 2016-17 and 2017-18.

However, it was a different story at home, where the Nerazzurri picked up just 39 points – 11 less than Juve's total of 50.

Inter must improve their efficiency at San Siro if they are to end Juve's dominance of Italian football, as no Scudetto-winning side has ever claimed the title with fewer than 13 wins at home since 20 teams have been in the top flight.

Achraf Hakimi says Antonio Conte’s "extraordinary passion" was one of the motivating factors behind his decision to join Inter. 

The 21-year-old joined the Serie A side in July for a reported €40million from Spanish champions Real Madrid, signing a five-year contract. 

The Spain-born Morocco international spent the past two seasons on loan at Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund, particularly impressing last term when deployed as a right-sided wing-back ahead of a three-man defence.

On top of an impressive haul of five goals, Hakimi also had 10 assists in the Bundesliga last season – the best of any defender.

Conte guided Inter to a second-place finish in his maiden campaign and Hakimi is licking his lips at the prospect at playing under the 51-year-old. 

"I chose Inter because I think the coach's style is particularly suited to my way of playing and I can be of real help to this team," he said in a Q&A hosted on Inter's social media channels. "We'll try to achieve great results and certainly aim to win the Scudetto.

"Conte is a great coach, with a very competitive spirit. He has this extraordinary passion for football and transmits that to his players, fans, and everyone around the club. His motivation allows the side to be fired up for every game.

"I already played 3-5-2 at Borussia Dortmund. When the offer came, I thought this was a great opportunity for me to grow, as the fans here experience football in such a special way. I have joined a great club."

Hakimi had been at Madrid since 2006 and broke into the first-team squad in 2017-18, playing back-up to Dani Carvajal. 

He believes his two-year spell in the Bundesliga improved him as a player and hopes the experience will help him navigate a more "tactical league".

"Playing in Germany allowed me to mature as a player, gain experience and confidence," he added. "It was a wonderful experience; now I will go into a more tactical league like Serie A.

"Our objective is to win the Scudetto, make the fans happy, then go forward in the Champions League and do even better than last season.

"I am here to give my best, so we'll do great things together and try to win some trophies!"

Arturo Vidal said Barcelona have to "change a lot of things" as their DNA is being left behind amid the club's crisis, which could see Lionel Messi sensationally leave.

Messi has handed in a transfer request and the Barca captain is reportedly wanted by Pep Guardiola's Manchester City in the Premier League, while Paris Saint-Germain, Inter and Juventus have also been linked.

It comes after Barca were dethroned by bitter rivals Real Madrid in LaLiga and humiliated 8-2 by Bayern Munich in the 2019-20 Champions League quarter-finals, with Ronald Koeman replacing Quique Setien – who was only appointed head coach in January.

And Barca midfielder Vidal has called on the embattled side to change their mindset as pressure mounts on president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

"Barcelona have done things that don't fit with a team at the top level," Vidal said in an interview with Daniel Habif via Youtube.

"In the end, you realise this when you face an organised team, a team that has a winning mentality, with players that are physically prepared and that has a very strong game plan.

"That takes its toll when you're weak in the head and in energy - that happened to us. Barcelona first have to change the way they think because football has evolved a lot.

"DNA is being left behind and other teams are improving in other aspects. Nowadays, football is more physical, more about strength and speed, and technical ability can sometimes come second. Barcelona have to change lots of things.

"A club, which I think is the best in the world, can't have 13 professional players and the rest youngsters.

"Not because they don't deserve to be there, but they have to be competing with the best and with who has to play.

"Every club has 23 players fighting for a place, improving and getting better every day. But when they don't progress, when you think you can always win with your DNA, that's when you're mistaken."

"There are lots of good players. We have Messi, who is the number one and is an alien, but he needs help," Vidal added. "He needs players that improve the team and that get better results."

Vidal's future at Camp Nou is far from certain amid links to Serie A champions Juve and Antonio Conte's Inter.

Chile international Vidal won four league titles during his time at Juve – three of those under head coach Conte before eventually joining Bayern Munich in 2015.

"Conte is like a machine, he is tactically the best," Vidal said. "As for my future, I'm relaxed, we'll see what happens. I am very fond of Barcelona, but we'll see."

Former Juve team-mate Andrea Pirlo is now coach of the Turin giants after replacing Maurizio Sarri, and Vidal added: "It's spectacular that he has become the coach of Juventus.

"If he was incredible as a player, imagine him as a coach. He has a real vision of the sport that very few have ever had in football, so I think he can do really well.

"Pirlo is also a wonderful person too, so I can only imagine he’ll be a great coach. We spent four years together and won the Scudetto four times, so if he were to call me, I'd be happy."

Antonio Conte will remain as Inter head coach, the Serie A club have confirmed. 

The former Juventus and Italy boss cast doubt on his future in the wake of Friday's Europa League final defeat to Sevilla, saying Inter must plan for life "with or without me".

Conte said that "something happened" and also pointed to family commitments, questioning whether football should be his priority.

Inter finished second in Serie A, reached the Coppa Italia semi-finals and savoured their European run, amounting to their best season in almost a decade.

Conte will now have the chance to build on that success following what the club described as a "constructive meeting" on Tuesday. 

A statement on the club's official website read: "The club and Antonio Conte had a constructive meeting today focused on continuity and strategy, in which the two parties laid the foundations to continue working together on the club's project."

Juventus could end up playing like Antonio Conte's Bianconeri teams next season after new boss Andrea Pirlo outlined his desired tactics.

Pirlo had never previously held a senior coaching position when Juve promoted their under-23 team boss to replace Maurizio Sarri on August 8.

Moreover, Pirlo had only been in charge of Juventus' young second strong for a week, so there has been little indication of how he wants his teams to set up.

However, at his introductory press conference on Tuesday, the 41-year-old spoke glowingly about the Juventus sides he played in under Conte between 2011 and 2014.

The Bianconeri won the title in all three seasons Conte and Pirlo were together, and the new coach wants to bring back some of the characteristics of those teams.

"Maybe we can reach that level of desire and cohesion," Pirlo told reporters.

"But that's what I would like to bring back - those principles, that DNA of work and sacrifice, of sweating for each other and only in this way can you reach goals."

Sarri led Juve to a ninth successive Scudetto but paid the price for another disappointing Champions League campaign, which ended in a last-16 loss to Lyon.

As was the case when he held the reins at Chelsea, Sarri's tactics were also questioned, and Pirlo has already told the squad how he wants to go about things in Turin.

"I want to bring some enthusiasm, what has been missing in the last period," Pirlo added.

"I want to propose a proactive football, and domination of the play, as I told the lads yesterday.

"I told them two things - the first is that you must always have the ball, the second is that it must be recovered quickly.

"These are the first two tactical things I said and believe in. They are the most important mental things for the team to enter."

Juventus have already made their first signing ahead of next season, with Arthur arriving from Barcelona after an underwhelming two-year spell in Catalonia.

With Miralem Pjanic heading in the opposite direction, Arthur will be expected to play a major role in midfield, as Pirlo did during his playing days.

"I have seen and admired him," Pirlo added of Arthur.

"He is a construction midfielder who can fill multiple roles - as a director, a midfielder, a midfielder of two. He has quality and will be useful."

Romelu Lukaku acknowledged his decisive own goal in the Europa League final "p***** me off" but vowed to keep on fighting for Inter as he issued a defiant rallying cry to his team-mates.

Lukaku was a key figure in Friday's Europa League showpiece against Sevilla, opening the scoring early on from the penalty spot after being hauled down by Diego Carlos, who controversially avoided a red card.

Sevilla battled back and a brace from Luuk de Jong put the Spaniards on top before Diego Godin restored parity.

Lukaku might have put Inter back in front in the second half but was denied with only Yassine Bounou to beat.

He then diverted Diego Carlos' overhead-kick into his own net 16 minutes from time as Sevilla went on to lift the trophy for a sixth time in 14 years.

On Sunday, Lukaku posted to his Instagram account for the first time since that loss as he promised the situation would motivate him.

        View this post on Instagram                  

First of all i want to say thank you for all what you guys have done for my family and myself. This year as a team we grown a lot together and it’s an honour to represent a club that i loved since i’ve been a kid. Yes what happened in the final pissed me off but i will fight back. I never had shit the easy way in life as many of you know and this experience will make me stronger. 1 thing is for sure inter is not dead and this experience will make us better as a team! there’s unity and we’re heading the right direction. To the fans i want to say thank you for being so supportive every game home or away i love you guys. I appreciate the messages i’ve got. We will be back sempre forza inter 

A post shared by Romelu Lukaku (@romelulukaku) on Aug 23, 2020 at 9:20am PDT

"First of all, I want to say thank you for all you guys [Inter team-mates] have done for my family and myself," he wrote.

"This year as a team we've grown a lot together and it's an honour to represent a club that I loved since I was a kid.

"Yes, what happened in the final p***** me off but I will fight back. I never had s*** the easy way in life, as many of you know, and this experience will make me stronger.

"One thing is for sure, Inter is not dead and this experience will make us better as a team! There's unity and we're heading in the right direction.

"To the fans, I want to say thank you for being so supportive every game, home or away. I love you guys. I appreciate the messages I've got. We will be back."

Despite Europa League final disappointment, Inter will be in the Champions League next season after they finished second in Serie A.

However, the future of head coach Antonio Conte is in doubt after he hinted at the end of Friday's match that he may not be in charge next season.

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