Inter rewarded for getting Sanchez back on track - Conte

By Sports Desk August 05, 2020

Antonio Conte was delighted to welcome the imminent news of Alexis Sanchez's permanent transfer to Inter after helping the forward recover from "the worst moment of his career". 

Inter are set to announce the deal for Sanchez from Manchester United on a three-year deal on Thursday, though the move was revealed prior to their Europa League clash with beat Getafe. 

The Chile international endured a dismal 18-month spell at Old Trafford before leaving United on loan at the start of this season, recovering both form and fitness at San Siro. 

Nerazzurri CEO Giuseppe Marotta confirmed the situation regarding Sanchez's future in a media interview prior to the Getafe match on Wednesday. 

And speaking after a 2-0 win that sent Inter through to the last eight, the transfer had raised head coach Conte's spirits. 

"I think the Sanchez transfer is a very good move by the club," Conte told Sky Italia. "Considering the conditions in which we managed to get Alexis, it was a really good transfer. 

"The club deserve credit because he came at the worst moment of his career. He arrived after two difficult years when he was really struggling at United and then got injured with us. 

"We took the time to get him back on track, so it is only right for Inter to enjoy it and reap the rewards of that effort." 

Sanchez was a second-half substitute against Getafe in what had been set to be the final match of his loan stint. 

Former United striker Romelu Lukaku opened the scoring before half-time, with Christian Eriksen clinching progress to the quarter-finals with a late second goal.

Related items

  • Flick still in contact with Gotze as Bayern return rumours circle Flick still in contact with Gotze as Bayern return rumours circle

    Hansi Flick acknowledged he remains in contact with Mario Gotze after rumours circulated the Germany World Cup winner could return to Bayern Munich.

    Gotze spent three years at Bayern between 2013 and 2016, winning the Bundesliga in each season and the DFB-Pokal twice, before returning to Borussia Dortmund.

    The attacking midfielder was released at the end of last season, though, after struggling to regain the form that saw him rise through the ranks at Signal Iduna Park.

    Flick was assistant to Joachim Low when Gotze scored the winning goal for Germany in the 2014 World Cup final and German publication Bild suggested the Bayern boss is keen on bringing him back to bolster his midfield, an option that has proved attractive as there is no fee involved.

    Asked at a news conference prior to Bayern's Super Cup clash with Sevilla about Gotze, Flick replied: "As far as Mario Gotze is concerned, I am still in close contact with players who played in the national team during my time. 

    "He went through a difficult phase and we spoke on the phone several times. I appreciate Mario very much and I know where he has his strengths, but he is currently not an issue for us."

    Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, a member of the World Cup-winning team, talked up Gotze's qualities.

    "Much has been said about it. Mario is a very good player who knows the Bayern environment and I think he said himself that he wanted to win the Champions League," he said. 

    "He has ambitious goals and is very ambitious. He's in good shape, even though he wasn't preparing for a team. We'll see where it ends up later. I can only say that Mario Gotze is a good player. "

    Flick, who hopes Robert Lewandowski will complete a full training session after taking a knock in the 8-0 hammering of Schalke, was asked how he felt about fans being allowed into the Puskas Arena for the annual European curtain-raiser.

    The stadium will have no more than 30 per cent capacity but there were 951 new cases of coronavirus confirmed in Hungary over the past 24 hours.

    "In Munich I almost live in a corona hotspot, so not too much has changed. No, we came to play football, decisions are made elsewhere," Flick added. 

    "We're here to play football and we aim to win the Super Cup. We know that we can win these games. 

    "I'm a coach, I'm not an advisor for things like that. I hope I have the right advice for my players. Everything else should be done by others."

  • Greenwood must 'learn how to head the ball' to become number nine, says Solskjaer Greenwood must 'learn how to head the ball' to become number nine, says Solskjaer

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer accepts Mason Greenwood is likely to become Manchester United's number nine in the future, but says the teenager must learn how to head the ball first.

    Greenwood, who superbly broke into the United first team last season, opened his goalscoring account for the new season with a late strike as a substitute in Tuesday's 3-0 away win over Luton Town in the EFL Cup.

    The England international formed a potent front three with Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford towards the end of last season and there have been calls for the 18-year-old to be given a chance down the middle, rather than playing in a wide role.

    United boss Solskjaer does see that happening in the years ahead, but feels there are some adjustments for Greenwood still to make before he takes the central role currently held by Martial.

    "He had a fantastic season last season and to get his goal now was important to him," Solskjaer said to the club's website. 

    "Marcus too. It always is with strikers, to get that confidence and feeling of scoring, to get that hunger again. 

    "So I'm very happy with that, he [Greenwood] just needs to work to get his fitness and sharpness back."

    When asked about Greenwood's position, Solskjaer added: "He can play through the middle as well.

    "I think, as a young boy, not physically grown yet, it is nice to be facing forward rather than being the number nine, the foil; being the battering ram if you like.

    "So I think he will end up as a number nine in the end, probably. But he's so good with his right and left [foot], so he can come in off his right and left, or through the middle. 

    "I scored most of my goals from just outside the post as well, I wasn't like in the middle.

    "For him to be a number nine, though, he needs to learn how to head the ball. I keep telling him that and, if he wants to do that, he's welcome to come and practice with me."

    United are back in action away to Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday in the Premier League on Saturday as they look to bounce back from their opening defeat to Crystal Palace.

  • Neymar surprises Richarlison with Everton award Neymar surprises Richarlison with Everton award

    Neymar made a surprise appearance on Everton's social media channels on Wednesday as he presented his Brazil team-mate Richarlison with an award.

    Richarlison was belatedly named Everton's Player of the Season for the 2019-20 campaign, which was heavily disrupted due to coronavirus.

    The 23-year-old – who joined Everton from Watford in 2018-19 – scored 15 goals in 41 appearances across all competitions for the Toffees last term.

    He has made no secret of his admiration for Neymar, who he has played with at international level, and the Paris Saint-Germain superstar made a guest appearance to present Richarlison with the award.

    "Hey Richarlison, I am so happy for you, congratulations on your season," Neymar said in a video published on Everton's official Twitter feed.

    "Here it is, your Player of the Season award for Everton. Congratulations on this achievement, I know you're the first Brazilian [to win this award].

    "I'm very happy for you. I hope you keep on scoring goals, helping your club, your team-mates and you know that I am always wishing you the best.

    "All the best, congratulations, here's your trophy. It's a great pleasure for me to give it to you."

    Richarlison tweeted: "Today is a very special day for me. Receiving the best player of the season award, playing by one of the most traditional clubs in Europe, and from the hands of a guy who is my childhood idol, but who also became a team mate and a friend that the football gave me is kinda surreal.

    "Thanks, Everton! Thank you, fans! And thanks for the surprise and the message, Neymar. I haven't words for thank you for all affection."

    Buoyed by the signings of James Rodriguez, Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure, Everton have made an impressive start to 2020-21.

    Richarlison is yet to score, but provided two assists and was directly involved in four goals in Everton's 5-2 win over West Brom last time out.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.