'What could I do in eight minutes?' - under-used Nainggolan takes swipe at Conte

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Serie A - Inter Milan v Parma

(Reuters) - Inter Milan midfielder Radja Nainggolan, currently back on loan at fellow Serie A side Cagliari, said Inter coach Antonio Conte had not given him a chance to show what he could do, having not given him a single start this season.

Nainggolan returned to Cagliari last week, having also spent last season there on loan.

"I was hurt when, after giving me just eight minutes in a match, he (Conte) said I was responsible for everything," the Belgium international told Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport.

"What could I have done in eight minutes? But I didn't make a controversy of it then, and I won't now either. That's just how it went."

Perhaps hoping to keep the door open for a return to Inter, Nainggolan nevertheless said of Conte: "He is a great coach."

Nainggolan tested positive for COVID-19 in October and felt relieved that he had recovered in 10 days while continuing to train at home.

"I was lucky," he said. "I came out of it in just 10 days from positive test to negative test.

"This year on the pitch we are defending much more than a result: We are defending the championship from the virus."

Inter are second in the standings, a point behind city rivals AC Milan at the top, while Cagliari sit in 15th place.

(Reporting by Peter Hall; Editing by Hugh Lawson)