Tough to lose Hakimi to COVID-19 positive before kickoff - Conte



Thu, 22 Oct 2020 - 03:27 GMT


Thu, 22 Oct 2020 - 03:27 GMT

Achraf Hakimi, Reuters

Achraf Hakimi, Reuters

MILAN (Reuters) - Inter Milan coach Antonio Conte said it was psychologically tough for his side to lose fullback Achraf Hakimi to a positive COVID-19 test four hours before the start of their Champions League game against Borussia Moenchengladbach.

Hakimi became the seventh player at Inter to test positive in the last two weeks although one of those, Alessandro Bastoni, has recovered and was brought on as a second-half substitute in the 2-2 draw.

“It certainly wasn’t easy today to receive the news at five o’clock that Hakimi was positive,” said Conte. “He had been training with us until this morning, he was due to play and we had prepared some tactical situations with him.”

“But we have to face these problems and I told the lads we have to do so with our heads held high. It wasn’t easy from a psychological point of view, either, but the guys showed that, above all, they are men as much as they are footballers.”

Conte said he could not remember Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic making a save during the match in which the Bundesliga side scored from both their shots on target.

“We played well against a team with great potential,” he said. “I have no reason to reproach the lads, although we can improve because we maybe made mistakes in some situations.”

Inter forward Romelu Lukaku, scorer of both Inter goals, was not as happy as his coach.

“It is not a good result, we can do better,” he said. “We have to keep working and be mentally strong. It is not an easy period, but we must continue to work and believe in our qualities.”

“The defence must do better, we conceded two goals because of our mistakes. But also we missed many chances to score.”



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