•“Seventy-six points and the best defence? In the last few weeks, and I don’t know why, the glass has been seen as half empty,” said Conte.
•However, their title challenge has faded over the last few weeks after they let several games slip from their grasp
Inter Milan’s statistics speak for themselves, coach Antonio Conte said on Saturday as he defended his team’s recent performances following their 3-0 win at Genoa.
The win took Inter back into second placed in Serie A and their points total of 76 is their highest since 2011.
However, their title challenge has faded over the last few weeks after they let several games slip from their grasp.
“Seventy-six points and the best defence? In the last few weeks, and I don’t know why, the glass has been seen as half empty,” said Conte.
“But these numbers speak clearly and are comforting. These lads are doing very good things. Of course, we can and must improve.”
“They’re not giving up although some games, like the one against Fiorentina, were disappointing,” he said referring to Wednesday’s 0-0 draw. “I think there are years in which you sow little and reap a lot and others in which the opposite happens.”
Elsewhere, hapless Sassuolo had four goals disallowed for offside, three of them following VAR reviews, in an unlucky 2-0 defeat by Napoli in Serie A on Saturday.
Elseid Hysaj put Napoli ahead in the eighth minute, the Albanian’s first goal for the club on his 193rd appearance, with a low shot from the edge of the penalty area. Filip Djuricic had the ball in the net for Sassuolo in the 32nd minute but the linesman flagged and it was immediately disallowed for offside.
Four minutes later, Djuricic again thought he had scored when he fired in the rebound after Hamed Junior Traore’s shot was saved by David Ospina. But, after a long VAR review and with Napoli waiting to kick off, the goal was disallowed for offside against Traore.
Francesco Caputo had a goal chalked off two minutes after the restart, then it was Domenico Berardi’s turn when his effort was ruled out for offside against Caputo who had played the ball to him. In both cases, Napoli were waiting to restart when the goal was disallowed.
Matteo Politano hit the post late on for Napoli and Allan rubbed more salt into Sassuolo’s wounds when he swept home the second from the edge of the area in stoppage time.
Napoli, who have qualified for the Europa League as Coppa Italia winners, stayed seventh with 59 points with Sassuolo eighth on 48.
Sassuolo coach Roberto De Zerbi did not comment directly on the disallowed goals. “We did well with and without the ball, but we needed more conviction to come away with the three points,” he said.
Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso said his team deserved to win by more. “We created nine chances and we should have been two or three up by halftime, so I can’t be happy,” he said. “Considering what we create, we score too little and concede too many.”
“It’s not true that it was a 50-50 game, I saw another game from the bench,” he added. “Offside is part of the game and you can’t compare our goal chances with Sassuolo’s.”