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'I am not crazy!' - Conte explains not playing Sanchez in Inter draw

03:49 GMT 12/01/2020
Antonio Conte Inter
The former Chelsea boss wasn't happy when he was quizzed about not playing the Red Devils loanee

Inter manager Antonio Conte has declared he isn't crazy not to play Alexis Sanchez, stressing the Chilean attacker still isn't fit enough to play. 

The Serie A leaders had to settle for a disappointing 1-1 draw against Atalanta in the league on Saturday with Conte's injury-hit squad lucky to hold on for a point after conceding a late penalty which was saved. 

Sanchez, who is with Inter on loan from Manchester United this season, has made just four appearances for the side so far as he struggles with a foot injury. 

The 31-year-old has however returned to the Nerazzurri bench across their last two games but Conte has opted against giving him any minutes. 

Quizzed about Sanchez's lack of game time after the draw with Atalanta, Inter's coach was quick to shut down speculation he was crazy or trying to send a message by not playing the winger. 

"You mention Sanchez - well gentlemen, players must be fit to play," Conte said post-match.

"I am not crazy. So, either I am a moron, or I want to hurt myself. I believe one plus one equals two. If you make one plus one equal five...

"If I put someone out of our line-up it is for a reason. It is not about performing a hara-kiri or because I am a mad man." 

Sanchez managed to play just 20 Premier League games last season for the Red Devils with Inter currently in desperate need of fit players

"I faced this game without four key players. Atalanta are intense, with a lot of physical force," Conte said. 

"We did everything we could to try and win the game. The lads are exceptional.

"Today we had Nicolo Barella suspended, Matias Vecino with a calf problem. I'm trying to get Alexis Sanchez back in shape but in my view we are giving everything in a very difficult situation."

Inter are now one point clear at the Serie A summit but will drop to second behind Juventus should Maurizio Sarri's side beat Roma on Sunday. 

Juve won their first game of 2020 in convincing fashion as they swept past Cagliari 4-0 courtesy of a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick