Antonio Conte hailed Romelu Lukaku after another superb individual display in the Europa League quarter-finals, but insisted the forward's success is also down to his Inter team-mates.

Lukaku scored what proved to be the winner as Inter set up a Europa League semi-final against either Shakhtar Donetsk or Basel thanks to Monday's 2-1 triumph over Bayer Leverkusen.

Nicolo Barella – having latched onto the rebound from a blocked Lukaku shot – opened the scoring, with Inter's star Belgian doubling their lead prior to Kai Havertz pulling one goal back for Leverkusen.

Lukaku could have scored a hat-trick, had referee Carlos del Cerro Grande not overturned two penalties after consulting with VAR.

But while lauding Lukaku, who became the first player to score in nine successive Europa League matches and has netted 29 times in all competitions this season, Conte affirmed that he would be nothing without the team supporting him.

"It's difficult to talk about individuals when you have such a great team performance," Inter head coach Conte told Sky Italia.

"Romelu is having an excellent season, supported by the team, who put everyone in a position to express themselves at their best on an individual level too.

"I'm happy for him, as he deserves all of this success, but Romelu must also thank the team for putting him in the conditions to express himself in the best form of his entire career."

Though Conte conceded his team's finishing should have been more clinical, he had little complaints as Inter headed to within 90 minutes of reaching their first European final since 2010.

"We are very satisfied, because it was a very good performance," said Conte, whose Inter finished second and just a point behind Juventus in Serie A.

"As I always end up saying, we could've killed the game off earlier and relaxed a little. We didn't allow many chances at all, but the fact is we had so many chances and should've scored more than two.

"The lads showed how hungry they were, how determined to prove that what they're doing is important. We've got an opportunity to play a Europa League semi-final. We want to achieve the maximum. We want to go all the way."

One player who may not be fit to feature for Inter in the semi-final is Alexis Sanchez, who sustained a muscle strain in his right leg.

Romelu Lukaku and Nicolo Barella revelled in Inter's progression to the Europa League semi-finals on Monday, with the latter claiming their win over Bayer Leverkusen proved their doubters wrong.

Barella and Lukaku scored as Inter sealed their place in the last four with a 2-1 triumph over Leverkusen, who pulled one back through Kai Havertz.

Inter squandered several chances to add to their lead, while the Nerazzurri also had two penalties overturned by the referee after he consulted with VAR.

Ultimately, though, the early strikes from Barella and Lukaku proved enough, and the former believes Inter showed real grit to get through.

"We proved to everyone who said we weren't a team that we are a great group and we've got balls,” Barella told Sky Italia.

"We could've killed it off earlier and rested a little more, but Leverkusen are a very strong side and caused us problems.

"Now we have proved ourselves as a team and want to reach the final. Just as we respect everyone in the competition, they have to worry about us too."

Lukaku's goal set a new record in the Europa League, as he became the first player to net in nine successive appearances in the competition.

However, the former Manchester United forward's focus is not on personal achievements.

"Records are records, but the victory was so important, Leverkusen are a team with great quality and an excellent coach," Lukaku told Sky Italia.

"The defence did a great job and in my view the man of the match was Barella, as in recent weeks he has been just fantastic, he's everywhere.

"We've been clearly improving recently, we just need to finish more of our chances and kill games off earlier. Now we have a week to prepare for the semi-final.

"That is going to be another huge game and we have to be ready."

Romelu Lukaku and Nicolo Barella were on target as Inter saw off Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 to reach the Europa League semi-finals.

Inter led 2-0 inside 21 minutes at Merkur Spielarena in Dusseldorf – Barella opening the scoring before Lukaku squeezed in a record-setting goal.

Leverkusen star Kai Havertz pulled one back three minutes later, with VAR then denying Lukaku – the first player to score in nine successive UEFA Cup or Europa League games – the chance to double his tally from the spot, a fate he would suffer again in second-half stoppage time.

Alexis Sanchez went close to marking his first appearance since signing permanently for Inter with a goal midway through the first half, but the Nerazzurri's blistering start ultimately proved enough to book their semi-final place.

In a frantic opening, it was Inter who went ahead after 15 minutes – Barella sending a brilliant outside-of-the-boot finish into the bottom-left corner.

Barella latched onto a rebound from a blocked Lukaku shot for Inter's opener, but the former Manchester United striker had his goal six minutes later when he held off Edmond Tapsoba and turned in a low finish.

Lukaku squandered a golden chance to extend Inter's lead moments later, and he was swiftly made to pay as Havertz drilled in from close range.

Momentum appeared to have swung back in Inter's favour within two minutes – Daley Sinkgraven adjudged to have handled in the area – but referee Carlos del Cerro Grande changed his decision after consulting VAR.

Roberto Gagliardini might have restored Inter's two-goal cushion following the restart, had Lukaku not got in the way of his effort.

Lukas Hradecky made fine saves to deny Sanchez – who played on through an apparent hamstring injury suffered late on – and Victor Moses as Inter pressed for a third, though it looked as if they would have the final say when Christian Eriksen was awarded a penalty.

However, VAR worked against Inter for a second time, the referee overturning his initial decision due to an accidental handball from Barella but, fortunately for Inter, they were not made to rue the call. 

What does it mean? Inter looking strong

Leverkusen were arguably the strongest side Inter would have to face in this side of the draw, and the Nerazzurri have passed the test. While Shakhtar Donetsk or Basel will be no pushovers, Conte's side should be confident of reaching their first European final since 2010.

Record-setting Lukaku rolls on

With his brilliantly taken goal, Lukaku cemented himself in the Europa League record books, adding another accolade to what has been a fantastic first season with Inter.

Tah and Tapsoba found lacking

With Sven Bender suffering a late injury, Peter Bosz was left without one of his most experienced players, and the former Borussia Dortmund man was certainly missed as Inter got at Leverkusen's youthful centre-back pairing of Jonathan Tah and Tapsoba time and time again.

What's next?

Shakhtar or Basel, who play on Tuesday, will face Inter on August 17. Leverkusen, meanwhile, will now prepare for the new Bundesliga season, which starts in September.

Romelu Lukaku scored for a ninth successive Europa League match as Inter took on Bayer Leverkusen on Monday, setting a new record in the competition.

Inter forward Lukaku put Antonio Conte's side 2-0 up 21 minutes into the quarter-final clash in Germany, squeezing a low finish in after holding off Edmond Tapsoba, before Kai Havertz pulled one back for Leverkusen.

Having matched a long-standing Alan Shearer record with a strike against Getafe last week, Lukaku is the first player to score in nine straight matches in either the UEFA Cup or the Europa League.

The Belgium international had previously appeared in the competition with Everton in 2014-15, scoring in matches against Dynamo Kiev, Young Boys and Wolfsburg.

Lukaku looked set to have the chance to add to his tally shortly after Havertz's strike, when Daley Sinkgraven was penalised for handball, but the spot-kick was overturned after the referee checked with VAR.

In his maiden season in Serie A, former Manchester United striker Lukaku scored 23 league goals for Inter, as they finished second behind Juventus.

Could Paulo Dybala swap Italy for Spain?

The Juventus attacker was close to leaving Juventus for either Manchester United or Tottenham prior to the 2019-20 season, while Paris Saint-Germain were also linked.

Now, Real Madrid are reportedly targeting the 26-year-old.

 

TOP STORY – KROOS OUT, DYBALA IN?

Real Madrid are set to offer Toni Kroos or Isco as part of a deal to bring Juventus star Paulo Dybala to the Santiago Bernabeu, according to SportMediaset.

LaLiga champions Madrid are eyeing a move for Dybala, who has been in negotiations with Serie A titleholders Juve over a new contract amid reported interest from Paris Saint-Germain.

However, Juve are unwilling to part with the Argentina international – who enjoyed a fine Serie A campaign prior to Maurizio Sarri's sacking as he looks ahead to life under Andrea Pirlo.

ROUND-UP

- Kicker claims Jadon Sancho has told Borussia Dortmund he is happy to stay at the club if a blockbuster transfer to Manchester United fails to materialise. The England international has been heavily tipped to join United, with personal terms reportedly agreed.

Barcelona want to sign Manchester City star Bernardo Silva, reports The Telegraph. The LaLiga giants are eyeing a cash-plus-player deal to try to prise the Portugal international to Camp Nou.

- Premier League champions Liverpool are poised to sign Olympiacos left-back Kostas Tsimikas, according to widespread reports. Having failed to strike a deal with Norwich City for Jamal Lewis, Liverpool are close to prising Tsimikas from the Greek powerhouse. Meanwhile, The Sun says Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool are targeting a shock £35million swoop for Bournemouth midfielder David Brooks.

- The front page of Monday's edition of Marca says Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane must sell before he is able to sign players ahead of the 2020-21 season. Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez are two players unwanted in the Spanish capital as Madrid continue to be linked with the likes of PSG superstar Kylian Mbappe, Dortmund's Erling Haaland and Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga.

- AS Diario reports Villarreal are on the verge of signing Valencia pair Dani Parejo and Francis Coquelin. Valencia captain Parejo and team-mate Coquelin have been told they are free to leave Mestalla.

Napoli have joined the race to sign Madrid full-back Sergio Reguilon claims Sky Sport Italia. On loan at Sevilla, Reguilon has been linked to Chelsea and Everton.

- According to Calciomercato, Inter are interested in Tottenham midfielder Tanguy Ndombele. However, salary demands may prove problematic amid talk of a swap deal involving Inter defender Milan Skriniar.

Lautaro Martinez is "very happy" at Inter amid links to LaLiga giants Barcelona, according to his agent Beto Yaque.

Martinez has been tipped to leave Inter for Barca at the end of the season, though the Italian side have regularly insisted they have no plans to sell the star forward.

The 22-year-old's €111million (£98.8m) release clause expired in July and Yaque played down the prospect of a transfer from San Siro to Camp Nou.

"Lautaro's transfer is more in the media than real life," Yaque told La Figura de la Cancha.

"Lautaro has three years on his contract with Inter and is very happy where he is.

"He's had a very good season, still has the Europa League to play for and I hope Inter can go all the way in that competition."

Yaque added: "I've never needed to give him advice and I don't need to now either. He's always been a complete player and has matured over the years."

Martinez scored 14 Serie A goals as Antonio Conte's Inter finished second and a point behind champions Juventus in 2019-20.

The Argentina international has managed 19 goals across all competitions ahead of Inter's Europa League quarter-final against Bayer Leverkusen on Monday.

Antonio Conte is eager for Inter to "give everything" in the last eight of the Europa League, even if only to ensure they have no regrets should they be beaten.

The Nerazzurri have advanced to the quarter-finals, where they will face Bayer Leverkusen on Monday in their first match of an eight-team finals tournament in Germany.

Inter have long been among the favourites to win Europe's secondary club competition and got past Getafe in the last 16.

But while Conte is optimistic heading into the Leverkusen game, he suggests Inter could still go away content if they performed to the best of their ability and fell short.

"We must be positive," Conte told a pre-match news conference on Sunday. "We work hard to achieve the goal, which must be the maximum possible.

"To get from here to the end, we will have to prove it on the pitch. We cannot have complaints. We will have to give everything.

"If it is enough to get to the semi-finals, or the final, or to raise the cup, we will all be happy - or we will go out where it is right to go out but without having complaints."

The coach acknowledged a tough schedule had taken its toll on his side, but Inter are still raring to go.

"We come from playing many games in a row in harsh weather conditions," he said. "But there is enthusiasm and desire to face this challenge and go to the semi-finals.

"I think we are all trying to work to bring Inter back to where they belong, to be a team who are capable of winning trophies."

However, to get past Leverkusen, Inter will have to find a way to stop Kai Havertz, the talismanic forward who has been heavily linked with Chelsea.

"Havertz is a player who has great qualities," said former Chelsea coach Conte.

"He has great technique and has what it takes to have a great career, but we hope he won't show it tomorrow."

Andrea Pirlo described his pride at being named Juventus head coach as he made his first public comments since Saturday's shock appointment.

Serie A champions Juve moved swiftly after they were knocked out of the Champions League by Lyon in the last 16 on Friday.

Coach Maurizio Sarri was sacked the following day, with Pirlo - only recently named their Under-23s boss - promoted as his replacement on a two-year deal.

The World Cup winner took to social media on Sunday and said: "I'm deeply pleased and honoured to receive such respect and trust from Juventus.

"Ready for this amazing opportunity!"

Pirlo is now set to become a rival to Inter's Antonio Conte, his former coach at Juve and Italy.

Conte welcomed the news as he faced the media ahead of Inter's Europa League quarter-final against Bayer Leverkusen.

"I'm certainly very happy for Andrea," said Conte, whose Nerazzurri finished a point behind Juve in Serie A.

"Besides what he gave me at a football level, we are talking about an exceptional person.

"What I think if there are players who I previously coached and are now coaching is that it means that I'm getting old!"

Inter have confirmed the signing of Manchester United forward Alexis Sanchez on a permanent deal.

Sanchez has put pen to paper on a three-year deal with the Serie A club following a successful season-long loan with Antonio Conte's side.

The 31-year-old Chile international joined United from Premier League rivals Arsenal in 2018, but failed to show what he is capable of at Old Trafford.

Sanchez is reported to have joined Inter on a free transfer after United ripped up his contract, which was said to earn him an astonishing £560,000-a-week.

He scored four goals in 29 appearances for the Nerazzurri following his switch to San Siro last August.

Sanchez found the back of the net only five times in 45 matches for the Red Devils after arriving at the club in January 2018 in a deal that saw Henrikh Mkhitaryan move to Arsenal.

United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer revealed that Sanchez would be heading back to Inter following a 2-1 Europa League last-16 second leg victory over LASK on Wednesday.

"I can confirm that he's agreed and we've agreed. Alexis enjoyed his time there," he said. 

"They've liked him, so of course that's a good move for him. Wish him all the best. He's a top player that we want to see play his best football.

"For whatever reason, we didn't see the best of Alexis, but he's a top professional and we just wish him all the best."

Inter have confirmed the signing of Manchester United forward Alexis Sanchez on a permanent deal.

Sanchez has put pen to paper on a three-year deal with the Serie A club following a successful season-long loan with Antonio Conte's side.

The 31-year-old Chile international joined United from Premier League rivals Arsenal in 2018, but failed to show what he is capable of at Old Trafford.

Romelu Lukaku "cost the same as all of Getafe", Jose Bordalas said after his side's Europa League loss to Inter.

Goals from Lukaku and Christian Eriksen saw Inter record a 2-0 win over the LaLiga side in the last-16 clash in Gelsenkirchen on Wednesday.

Signed by Inter from Manchester United for a reported €80million (£72.3m) last year, Lukaku has scored 30 goals this season.

Getafe boss Bordalas said the difference between his team and Inter was enormous, highlighting how much Lukaku cost.

"We are sad because I think the team played a great game," he said.

"We had Inter on the ropes during the second half. We had control of the game and, unfortunately, in our mistake in their first goal after practically nothing had been put forward, but the team did not fall and we had the penalty that would have put us fully into the possibility of passing this tie.

"It is a shame, but I am proud because the approach has been fantastic, the team has interpreted it great. I am very proud of the work of the players.

"The difference is very big, only Lukaku cost the same as all of Getafe."

Jorge Molina missed a 76th-minute penalty for Getafe that would have drawn them level.

Inter will face either Rangers or Bayer Leverkusen in the Europa League quarter-finals.

Romelu Lukaku is already looking forward after helping Inter reach the Europa League quarter-finals on Wednesday.

Goals from Lukaku and Christian Eriksen saw Inter beat Getafe 2-0 in Gelsenkirchen to move into the last eight.

Lukaku moved onto 30 goals in a season for the first time in his career and missed a glorious chance in the second half.

The striker was quick to forget about squandering that opportunity as he looked ahead.

"The miss? These things happen in football, but I'm already thinking about the next game," Lukaku told Sky Sport.

"I want to win and continue to help the team. The work we're doing with the coach is really important.

"The team is growing and we need to move ahead with the same mentality and desire to improve."

Jorge Molina missed a 76th-minute penalty for Getafe as Inter moved into a clash against either Rangers or Bayer Leverkusen in the quarter-finals.

Lukaku became the first Inter player to net 30 goals in a season since Samuel Eto'o in 2010-11 and the Belgian was happy to get on the scoresheet.

"We knew it would be a difficult game, against an aggressive team," he said.

"The defence did a really good job and we did well at the front. I'm happy with my goal, and Christian's too."

Inter will face Rangers or Leverkusen in Dusseldorf on Monday.

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.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed Alexis Sanchez will join Inter on a permanent deal but would not be drawn on Manchester United's pursuit of Jadon Sancho. 

Inter chief executive Giuseppe Marotta said on Wednesday that he expected to announce the signing of Sanchez, who has been on loan at San Siro this season, on a three-year contract on Thursday. 

Speaking after United's 2-1 win over LASK in the last-16 second leg of the Europa League, Solskjaer wished Sanchez well in Italy, where he has begun to rediscover his form after a torrid time at Old Trafford. 

"I can confirm that he's agreed and we've agreed," Solskjaer said. "Alexis enjoyed his time there. 

"They've liked him, so of course that's a good move for him. Wish him all the best. He's a top player that we want to see play his best football. 

"For whatever reason, we didn't see the best of Alexis, but he's a top professional and we just wish him all the best." 

With Sanchez leaving, the number seven shirt will become vacant at United as they attempt to strike a deal to bring in Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund. 

The England star is said to be keen on a move to the Premier League, but Dortmund have been holding out for a sizeable transfer fee, reportedly at least €110million. 

United are believed to be unwilling to sanction such spending amid the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and are eager to reduce Dortmund's asking price, while hoping to pay some of the fee in installments or bonuses. 

Solskjaer insisted there was no update in terms of United's pursuit of transfer targets, though. 

"We're looking into all transfers differently," he said. "I'm not going to speak about individuals that are not our players, so no news, no updates. 

"We'll update you if something happens."

Antonio Conte said his Inter side are happy to "get dirty" in their pursuit of the Europa League title after overcoming Getafe 2-0 in the last 16.

In a one-legged encounter in Germany, goals from Romelu Lukaku and Christian Eriksen ensured Inter's place in the quarter-finals, with Rangers or Bayer Leverkusen up next.

Things could have been different for Getafe, with veteran striker Jorge Molina missing a penalty shortly after coming off the bench before Eriksen finally settled the contest with seven minutes to go.

Inter's performance left Conte pleased, with the former Chelsea and Juventus coach hailing his side's willingness to go toe-to-toe with a robust Getafe team.

"We knew full well the difficulties this game could bring," Conte told Sky Italia.

"Getafe started strong. They were going for the second ball and to make it physical. They were stronger at the beginning, but we got the game in hand and started to pass the ball around.

"We expected it to be a dirty game and we were not afraid to get dirty with them. That's a great sign, as it's that determination to get stuck in and fight for every ball, something we missed at times this season.

"Progressing in Europe is also a chance to gain experience. I am happy with the performance. We could've had an even better scoreline. We had more chances to score.

"They proved they want to keep going and aren't ready to go on vacation yet."

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