Inter coach Antonio Conte was full of praise for Atalanta and their ability to play intense football for a long periods time which eventually earned them a 1-1 draw on Saturday night.
It could have been worse as at the end of a difficult second half for the Nerazzurri, Samir Handanovic saved a Luis Muriel penalty which would have resulted in the second defeat of their Serie A campaign.
“Atalanta players have some specific features which allow them to keep the intensity high for the entire 90 minutes,” Conte said.
“Modern football is going this way: you have to put quality and intensity together if you want to win.
“They are not underdogs anymore, they can compete with everyone and they’ll keep doing so in the coming seasons.
“It wasn’t our choice to sit deep in the second half, we shouldn’t be presumptuous. Atalanta deserve credit for their physicality and intensity.
“I want to congratulate my players, especially for the first half, but our aim is to play this kind of football for 90 minutes, just as Atalanta can do.”
When asked if his team can repeat their positive performances from the first half of the season again in the second stint, Conte said humility is key to achieve such feat.
“I feel there’s a great atmosphere between the players and the staff and it was no easy feat to build such connection in five months,” he said.
“What we are doing is really impressive, but we have to remain humble and remember that we earned 46 points as a result of a lot of sacrifice.”