Conte: Playing behind closed doors is not beautiful

Amid coronavirus outbreak in Italy, Inter will take on Ludogorets behind closed doors at San Siro, much to the disappointment of head coach Antonio Conte.

Inter coach Antonio Conte   -  Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

Antonio Conte admitted games are not the same without the presence of fans as Inter prepares to host Ludogorets at an empty San Siro on Thursday.

UEFA announced Inter and Ludogorets will meet behind closed doors in the second leg of their Europa League tie due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak in Italy.

And Inter travels to title rival Juventus just three days later, with six points separating the sides as third visits first in Serie A.

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It has not yet been confirmed whether fans will be allowed to attend the Derby d'Italia, but Nerazzurri coach Conte is keen to see supporters allowed inside the Allianz Stadium.

"I think playing behind closed doors is not beautiful," Conte told Sky Sport Italia. "Football needs the public and to feel the whole atmosphere around it. It is the most beautiful thing.

"Having said that, we refer to the decisions made for health reasons, but I hope that everything will return to normal as soon as possible."

The outbreak of the virus, which originated in China, saw Inter's clash with Sampdoria one of four Serie A fixtures to be postponed last Sunday.

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But after returning to action against Ludogorets, Conte's side has a crucial stretch with matches against Juve and then Napoli, which hold a 1-0 first-leg lead in the Coppa Italia semifinals.

"We have a very concentrated schedule," Conte said. "The fact that the match with Samp has been postponed changed the situation a bit.

"But we trained to prepare for this cycle of matches: only at the end will we see what Inter can do."

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