UEFA Champions League


On the eve of the final matchday in the group stages of the Champions League, Antonio Conte gave his press conference at the Suning Training Centre. Inter take on Shakhtar Donetsk at San Siro today (21:00 CET). 

What’s the situation in midfield? Are there any problems for Barella and Vidal?
“The situation in midfield isn’t the greatest. We’ll take stock. I try to make choices for the good of Inter and you’ll see them tomorrow.” 

They’ll be avoiding a draw in Madrid. How difficult is it to get the team focused solely on their own match?
“We need to be realistic about the facts, which are that we need to beat a good team. We have some issues in terms of selection. We need to overcome these difficulties. One week ago, we were dead in the water. Now, we have hope. We’re just thinking about winning the game. I’m not worried about the rest; this is the Champions League and there are some great clubs involved. This isn’t pub football. I hope the media don’t focus too much on rumours about flaying for a mutually beneficial result. It’s depressing to hear about it. Every team only ever plays to win.”

You said, before the Real Madrid game, that you had reaped less than you sowed. Is the team now on the right path to reach the highest level?
“We’ve started on the right path and will try to keep going in the best way possible. We want to improve and still have room to do so.”

You didn’t score in the reverse fixture. Do you expect a different result to the one in Kyiv?
“That was a hard-fought match. They’re a really good team with a great coach. They have quality on the ball and good technical players, some pacey ones too. Each game has its own story. We want to play well because there’s only one outcome that benefits us, while Shakhtar have two out of three.”

Do you think Vidal might play? What do Inter lack without him?
“He’s unavailable. Risking him would mean risking this chance of him picking up a bigger injury and we can’t allow that. He has experience and has played a lot of these types of matches. But we beat Gladbach without him, so we’ll play safe in the knowledge that we’re a good side by getting over these absences, uniting even more and trying to get through in spite of our problems.”

It seems like you are confident in spite of these problems. Do you think the team is in a strong place mentally?
“Today’s training session will be important. I’ll make some big decisions for the game tomorrow. There will be some glaring weaknesses but, at the same time, we need to be aware that difficulties are there to be overcome. Managing to do that would be even sweeter.”

(Foto Getty Images)