Conte urges Inter to use 'bitterness' and bounce back from Bologna loss

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Antonio Conte called on his Inter players to channel their "bitterness and disappointment" in a positive way when they face Hellas Verona on Thursday.

The Nerazzurri suffered their first Serie A loss since the resumption of the season on Sunday when they conceded two late goals to be defeated 2-1 by Bologna.

Conte's side cannot afford many such slip-ups given leaders Juventus have an 11-point advantage over third-placed Inter, though Milan's win over the reigning champions on Monday has given the chasing pack hope.

Inter can cut that gap to eight points with seven to play and Conte wants to see a response.

"We're putting the game against Bologna behind us and preparing for the game against Verona," he told Inter TV.

"In times like these, the fact that our next game is so soon is actually a positive, because we'll certainly still be feeling a bit of bitterness and disappointment, but at the same time you have to focus on your next match, which in this case is a big fixture against a very strong side in Hellas Verona."

Despite the result against Bologna - in which both sides had men sent off in the second half - Conte has been encouraged by the statistics from his team's past five league games.

Since the Serie A campaign restarted in June following the coronavirus-enforced break, Inter have scored the joint-most goals in the league, with 14, and have the highest ball-possession figures with 61.8 per cent.

"These figures are certainly promising, and they're testament to the fact that every time we step out onto the pitch, we look to set the tempo and dominate the game," Conte added.

"What's more, the fact that Inter are one of the top sides in the league when it comes to creating chances in the opposition area shows that we've put in some excellent performances.

"But, at the end of the day, we've got to make sure that these performances are translated into good results."

Inter will welcome Milan Skriniar back from a ban on Thursday but Danilo D'Ambrosio and Alessandro Bastoni will miss out through suspension.