Go out and make history! Conte rallies Inter for Europa League showdown with Sevilla

By Sports Desk August 20, 2020

Antonio Conte has backed Inter to "leave their mark on history" by sinking Sevilla in the Europa League final.

In a warning to his players, head coach Conte said the thrill of their run to the showpiece will be soon forgotten if they fail to come away with the trophy.

Although the former Juventus boss knows his team will be facing Europa League specialists, who won the competition in three consecutive years from 2014 to 2016, he is confident Inter can triumph in Cologne.

Speaking in a news conference ahead of Friday's game, Conte said Inter would have no fear of the opposition, declaring his team have grown "braver" over the first season of his reign.

"I was involved in a number of finals in my playing career," said the former Juventus and Italy star. "I won some of those matches but I also lost a number of finals.

"What I've realised is that people only remember when you win finals.

"I won the Champions League but I also lost a further three in the final. The people who leave their mark on history are those that win those matches and trophies."

Inter crushed Shakhtar Donetsk 5-0 in Monday's semi-final, teeing up a shot at a Sevilla side who battled past Manchester United.

"We should be proud we've reached a European final for the first time in 10 years," Conte said.

"But history is written by the conquerors, the winners. History will only record ultimately the team that wins this season's Europa League.

"It's a shame but equally that's added motivation for us."

Conte, a three-time Serie A champion as coach of Juve and Premier League winner at Chelsea, said he took the Inter job only because he sensed there was a chance of silverware.

He stressed he always needs to be sure there is a sniff of success before taking a job, even if it amounts to just a one per cent possibility. Now the chance of a first trophy at Inter is far greater.

"All the players, the staff, the kitman, the groundsmen, all of them have that feeling and that percentage has only grown day in, day out because the players are very willing to work hard," said Conte.

"They've got a lot of desire to improve. They want to lead from the front this season and achieve something. Credit goes to the players and my perception has grown day in, day out working with these players.

"All of them bought into the work we did and became braver as the season has gone on. The braver we became, the greater scope we had to go on and win a big trophy like the Europa League.

"We need to make the most of the opportunity."

Asked about the potential fear factor involved in facing a team such as Sevilla, Conte said: "I don't use the word 'fear'. I don't want my players to have it in their locker either.

"We really rate the opposition and we rate their history in this competition.

"That said, if we've managed to reach the final it's because we also have our strengths and we will try to play to our strengths."

Related items

  • Pogba one of the world's best – Tuchel Pogba one of the world's best – Tuchel

    Thomas Tuchel labelled Paul Pogba one of the best midfielders in the world ahead of Paris Saint-Germain's clash against Manchester United.

    PSG host United in Paris on Tuesday to begin their Champions League campaign in Group H.

    Ahead of the clash, Tuchel lauded Pogba, who has been linked with a move to the Ligue 1 champions previously.

    "He is one of the best midfielders of the world. That's the key to stopping him," the PSG coach told a news conference.

    "Bruno Fernandes who makes a lot of deep passes. One of the best teams in Europe in offensive transition. It's necessary to stop counter-attacks.

    "We want to have the ball, we want to play with a lot of possession, we want to impose our style. We have to play with a good structure to play good pressing."

    Pogba's former United team-mate, Ander Herrera, also praised the France international.

    Herrera, who left the Premier League club for PSG last year, believes Pogba will be a Ballon d'Or contender if United start winning multiple trophies.

    "I think he has it all. I've already said that there is no midfielder like him. He can do everything, one-on-one, box-to-box, he can do everything. He has all the qualities," he said.

    "He now plays a little deeper than when I was there because Fernandes plays like a number 10. I think he has all the qualities to become one of the best players in the world.

    "It's true that when you see the list of players who are candidates for the Ballon d'Or, you have to play in the team that wins everything. I think that if Man United wins titles, he will be in the list for the Ballon d'Or and the end-of-season trophies.

    "But, I am a PSG player now, I wish the best for Paul and Man United because they are in my heart but [on Tuesday] I will fight in a different team, we will fight for our team, our place."

  • Carragher urges Liverpool to sign Upamecano in January Carragher urges Liverpool to sign Upamecano in January

    Jamie Carragher says Liverpool need to do whatever it takes to sign RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano in January after losing Virgil van Dijk to a serious knee injury. 

    Netherlands international Van Dijk was forced off early in the Reds' 2-2 draw with Merseyside rivals Everton on Saturday after a wild challenge from Jordan Pickford.

    Scans have since revealed Van Dijk suffered damage to his anterior cruciate ligament, an injury that will ensure he misses the majority – if not the entirety – of the remainder of the season.

    Liverpool have previously been linked with 21-year-old France international Upamecano and Carragher – the Reds' second-highest appearance maker – says Jurgen Klopp needs to bring him in as a matter of urgency when the January transfer window opens. 

    "Liverpool's next big signing had to be a centre-back anyway and I am talking next summer," Carragher told Sky Sports. 

    "Dejan Lovren went and they didn't replace him so they only have three centre-backs and one of those, Joel Matip, is always injured. There are question marks now about Joe Gomez.

    "So, there is no doubt that Liverpool had to go big in the transfer market next summer. That was the next one. That has now got to be brought forward to January 1, whoever the target was in the summer. Not the end of January. 

    "There is a young man everyone was talking about at Leipzig, Dayot Upamecano. I think he is only 6'1" or 6'2", so he is maybe not that aerial but if he is the one they wanted then bring it forward. Pay extra money and do it on January 1.

    "That means getting through 11 league games without Virgil van Dijk."

  • Solskjaer surprises Fernandes with Man Utd captaincy after hailing his 'spark' Solskjaer surprises Fernandes with Man Utd captaincy after hailing his 'spark'

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer surprised Bruno Fernandes at a joint media conference by announcing he would captain Manchester United against Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday after hailing the Portuguese's recent impact.

    Fernandes has been a revelation since his arrival from Sporting CP in the January transfer window, scoring 12 goals in 22 appearances across all competitions during the second half of the 2020-21 season.

    He also ended the campaign as the club's joint highest goal creator in the Premier League, sitting alongside Marcus Rashford with seven assists.

    The 26-year-old has picked up where he left off this term, with his fine goal in United's 4-1 Premier League win over Newcastle United on Saturday taking his tally to three goals in five appearances. 

    With Harry Maguire absent for United's Champions League clash in Paris, Solskjaer had no hesitation in giving the captain's armband to Fernandes after his impressive start to life as a United player.

    "Bruno has come in and had great impact with all the stats showing that," he said.

    "His performances have been receiving real great praise as well. He has not changed the team, but he has sparked the team."

    A visibly surprised Fernandes admitted he had no prior knowledge of Solskjaer's decision, describing it is a major milestone in his career. 

    "I was not expecting this, I have found out the same time as you," Fernandes said. "For me it's an honour. I will be captain for my team-mates and to be captain of Manchester United is an important achievement for me.

    "But I think everyone is the captain. Everyone needs to help and be a leader in their own way; leadership is different in every player. Tomorrow will not be about me but the team.

    "Leading is every day in the training ground, every game and everyone is doing their job to lead the team in the way they think is best."

    Tuesday's game will be the first time the sides have met since United's stunning last-16 win over the French giants in March 2019, when Rashford's stoppage-time penalty sealed a 3-1 win in Paris after a 2-0 defeat at Old Trafford in the first leg.

    Solskjaer remembers the game fondly but insists it will have no bearing on how the match pans out against Thomas Tuchel's men this time around. 

    "Of course, that's history for us," Solskjaer said. "It's in the past. Great history, great game, but it has no impact whatsoever on this game.

    "We're a different team, they're a different team. It's a different stage of the competition.

    "Of course, also without fans it's going to be a different game. Because in the last game, when we got the first goal early on that impacted the ground, it's a completely new situation."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.