Romelu Lukaku will miss Inter’s blockbuster Champions League clash against Barcelona due to injury.
The Belgium striker has not travelled to Camp Nou with the Nerazzurri squad for the Group F clash against the reigning La Liga champions due to a muscular issue.
It remains to be seen if Lukaku will be fit for the huge Serie A contest with Juventus on Sunday, but head coach Antonio Conte is hopeful the quadricep problem is not too serious.
“Lukaku isn’t here, he had a slight muscular issue in the quadricep that he has been carrying for 10 days,” Conte said a pre-match news conference.
“He was continuing to feel the problem and the tests were negative, but we preferred in any case not to risk him. We have to rely on how the player feels in these cases.
“It’s not a tear, so we are fairly relaxed and will focus on that [if he can face Juve] only after tomorrow’s game with Barcelona.”
Alexis Sanchez could be involved against one of his former clubs following an eventful first start for Inter at the weekend.
The Chile forward scored but was also sent off in a 3-1 win against Sampdoria on Saturday, his second yellow card awarded for diving.
However, Conte defended the on-loan Manchester United star following criticism from some in the media.
“As for Sanchez, I am not pleased with what was written. I am referring to his behaviour, he is a great lad. He lives for the game,” he said of Sanchez.
“He did not dive intentionally. I was not pleased with what was written. I respect him a lot. He needs time. But he is an Inter player.
“Sanchez is a player who can help us. His experience is important. He did not go looking to dive. I want to reiterate that right now. He picked himself up right away.
“He needs to be defended. He did not try and con the referee.”
Barca have fitness concerns of their own with Lionel Messi struggling with a hamstring issue.
Blaugrana coach Ernesto Valverde suggested the forward may be fit to play, but Conte says Barca pose a daunting task regardless of Messi’s availability.
“If Messi plays or not it will be hard, Barca are one of the best in the world, they have great players, Messi is just one of them,” he said.
“He and Ronaldo are the best in the world. They make the difference. They win games on their own.
“We are up for it though. We want to play against the best. Messi is world class. We will see if he plays or not.”