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Inter Milan's Conte: Alexis Sanchez's lack of fitness why forward is unused substitute

Craig Burley explains how Inter squandered a strong start and dropped points against Atalanta.
Samir Handanovic denies Atalanta's Luis Muriel from the spot in a 1-1 draw. Watch Serie A on ESPN+.
Italian Serie A: Lautaro Martínez (4') Internazionale 1-0 Atalanta. Watch Serie A on ESPN+.

Inter Milan boss Antonio Conte has cited Alexis Sanchez's fitness levels as why the forward has not featured since his return from ankle surgery.

Sanchez joined on a season-long loan deal from Manchester United in the summer, but made just three Serie A appearances before an ankle injury picked up on international duty in October saw him miss the remainder of 2019.

- Watch live Serie A football on ESPN+

The Chile international was back on the bench for both of Inter's two matches so far this year.

And, asked after Inter's 1-1 home draw with Atalanta why Sanchez didn't come on, Conte told reporters: "To play players, they need to be in shape, otherwise it's insane. Either I'd be an idiot or I'd want to hurt myself."

Pushed further on the matter, he added: "If you add one plus one, you get two, if then you want to get to five. If I don't bring a player on, it's not because I'm demented."

Sanchez, who earned a move to Barcelona in 2011 following an impressive three-year spell in Italy with Udinese, returned to Serie A in the summer and scored on his first start for Inter.

However, he was later sent off and has not featured in the league since following his injury.

Inter's draw with Atalanta saw them move a point clear of Juventus at the top of Serie A, but the reigning champions will re-claim first place with victory over Roma on Sunday.

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