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Conte to keep Eriksen in new role despite talk of imminent Inter exit

Antonio Conte has plans to utilise Christian Eriksen in a deeper role for Inter, despite speculation linking the midfielder with a return to former club Tottenham. 

Eriksen looked poised to leave Inter after the club's CEO Giuseppe Marotta revealed he had been placed on the transfer list before the mid-season break. 

That followed a difficult start to the season for the Denmark international, which saw him start just four league games and fail to claim an assist. 

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Reports suggest a reunion with Spurs, where he scored 51 goals in 226 Premier League matches, could yet happen during the January transfer window, but it appears there may still be a future for the 28-year-old at the Nerazzurri. 

Eriksen enjoyed a fruitful outing when he was deployed at the base of Inter's midfield for the Coppa Italia win over Fiorentina on Wednesday.

No player on the pitch made more than his four key passes, while he completed the most passes in the opposition half of any Inter player (45) and gained possession a team-high nine times. 

While Marcelo Brozovic is likely to return to that position for Sunday's Derby d'Italia with Juventus, Conte suggested he could look to use Eriksen there more frequently. 

"We must get the best out of our squad," Conte told a media conference. "It is inevitable to have him [Eriksen] behind Brozo [Brozovic] because we do not have this kind of player in the squad who can be a playmaker in front of the defensive line. 

"We are trying to get the best of Christian in that position, even if he played both as an attacking and an inside midfielder already. 

"It is good for the team and myself having the opportunity to use him in different roles in the midfield."

Second-place Inter go into Sunday's clash four points ahead of Andrea Pirlo's Juve, who are fourth. 

But Conte does not want to talk about his side’s chances of taking the Seire A title from their rivals this season.

“I don't want to talk about favourites, we must have great respect for a team that has dominated for nine years and wants to continue doing it for the 10th,” he said.

“We can look towards Juventus for what they do and have done. We ourselves shortened the gap towards them last year, we hope to be able to continue on this path this year.”