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Conte: ‘Second place is just first for losers’

Antonio Conte, Inter Milan
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The Inter Milan boss isn’t bothered by Atalanta leapfrogging his side into second following a 0-0 draw against Fiorentina.

Wednesday’s goalless draw at the San Siro meant Conte’s Inter have only won five times in their previous 12 league games, dropping down to third place in the standings as a result.

But as fifth place AS Roma sit 12 points adrift on the Nerazzurri with only three games left, Champions League football is secured for the third season in succession. 

Although chances of beating Juventus to the league title itself are remote, with Inter seven points behind the runaway leaders. So unless some miracle happens, the Scudetto crown will remain in Turin.

“Second place is meaningless in my eyes, it’s just first for losers,” Conte told Sky Sport Italia.

“Some settle for that, but not me. I don’t want my players to settle for that either.”

Fiorentina, meanwhile, held firm against a resolute Inter to scrape a 0-0 draw. The hosts at the San Siro dominated possession, but were wasteful in front of goal.

Their best chances came through Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez, only for the pair to hit the woodwork.

“It was a good game,” Conte said on the draw.

“We played with the right intensity and passing moves, but were unlucky when hitting the woodwork twice.

“I can’t complain when the lads put in this desire and we even risked losing it at the end through our sheer desire to win. Fiorentina deserve credit for a very good defensive performance.

“When you drop points, there are always things that have gone wrong. We are trying to develop a killer instinct and I am happy if my players are disappointed at this draw, because that shows my work is bearing fruit.

“Every game is a test to prove that we are growing. I think this team hasn’t reaped what it showed this season, aside from securing a Champions League place with several rounds to spare.”

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