Inter swept Shakhtar Donetsk aside with an extraordinary performance at the Düsseldorf Arena, reaching the final of the UEFA Europa League thanks to braces from Lautaro and Lukaku and a goal from D’Ambrosio.
“I have to compliment my lads, because we’ve managed to reach the final and cause a strong side in Shakhtar Donetsk, who have quality players, all sorts of problems in the process,” said Antonio Conte after the match.“We pressed them all over the pitch and did well to force them into chasing and defending. I’m very happy because our plan was the right one and the lads played in the right way. They deserve all the credit.”
What does this final mean?
“It’s satisfying for everyone. The most important thing for me is that many lads are playing this type of game for the first time and gaining experience. We’ll now be coming up against Sevilla, who have traditionally done really well in this competition, but we have the desire to amaze people. I was worried about this game because Shakhtar are a strong side, but we made them look ordinary. We now need to recuperate after this magnificent display and prepare ourselves, looking to bring joy to the Inter fans, who are following us with plenty of enthusiasm. I think that our supporters can be proud of these lads. The most important thing is to not come off the pitch with regrets.”
Inter have won eight and drawn two of their last ten matches, conceding just four goals. Where did this come from?
“It’s the result of the work that we’ve been doing throughout the year. I genuinely believed that we could be protagonists come the end of the season. We were unfortunate in the Coppa Italia and deserved much more, while we slipped up against Bologna and Sassuolo in the league. However, the lads know that you learn from negative situations in particular. We needed to use those lessons and improve, and that’s what we've done. I’ve got a group of willing and great lads, and this is why we were able to finish our league campaign just one point behind Juventus with better statistics than our opponents. We wanted to be protagonists in the Europa League, and now we’re in the final. We’ll enjoy the result tonight, but tomorrow we’ll be thinking about Sevilla.”
You ask a lot from your players, but they give back even more. In addition to picking up important results, Inter are playing well…
“It’s inevitable that when you propose a certain type of work, one which is intense from both a tactical and physical point of view, there are some risks involved. But if you have intelligent players who know how to make the most of this, you can grow together. I have an honest relationship with my players, they know that everything I say is for the good of the group and the Club.”
(Photo Getty Images)