Antonio Conte hit back at Inter Milan's critics after their Serie A win over Sassulo, saying he was puzzled by the "fury" directed at the team and urging players not to listen to outside noise.

Inter and Conte came in for criticism after defeat to Real Madrid in midweek left them staring at elimination from the Champions League.

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But Conte refuted the suggestion that Inter's win - against a team who were previously unbeaten in Serie A and started the weekend in second place - was their best performance of the season and said nothing had changed since Wednesday's defeat to Real.

"Congratulations to the players: it's not easy at Inter in general," said Conte. "Nothing is ever simple. Inter is a club where people can't wait to hurl negativity at us.

"We must be hermetic and not let anything in from the outside, especially those who can’t wait to throw mud or worse at us.

"I've coached a lot of teams and to see this fury directed against us is puzzling, it becomes difficult for the players to give their best but they are doing well."

Conte has made similar comments before and, as usual, did not say who or where the hostility was coming from.

The 51-year-old added that critics should look beyond the result when judging Inter's performances.

"We've played better this season," he said. "This was a very good performance but we've given better ones without the result smiling on us. But judgements are based on results.

"We always try to give our best, sometimes we succeed and sometimes we don't. But the important thing is to finish with a sweaty shirt."

Asked what was different from Wednesday, he added: "I have changed absolutely nothing."

Additional reporting by Reuters

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