MILAN: Serie A teams need to be co-operative and not fret about fielding weakened sides because of positive COVID-19 tests, Inter Milan coach Antonio Conte said on Friday on the eve of the derby against AC Milan.
Inter will be without six players who have had to go into quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19 in the last 10 days but Conte, in conciliatory mood, said it was something that had to be accepted.
Several other Serie A clubs have also had positive tests among the players, including Milan.
"We shall all have to be co-operative and proactive, accepting the situation as it stands," Conte, whose side have won two and drawn one of their opening Serie A games, told reporters.
"Sport in general, and the country as a whole, is accepting it. It takes patience and goodwill."
"It seems a new complicated phase is returning, so we need unity to face this situation in the best possible way and move forward: stopping (the championship) would be disastrous," he added. "There is no point in complaining about those who are absent or discussing who is losing out the most."
A further complication for Conte is that several players only returned to the club on Thursday after a hectic international break, including three who travelled to South America for World Cup qualifiers.
On another day, Conte might have complained about the timing of the match and the international calendar, but again he was in a restrained mood - even if he admitted playing on Sunday would have been preferable.
"If I could have chosen, I would have preferred to have an extra day," he said. "But we know that there are also international calendars to respect, and we will adapt.
"We will prepare for the match today, we have no other choice: in between video analysis and tactical sessions, we will try to do our best, without forcing the players who have just returned."
(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Toby Davis)