Though clearly disappointed with his side's UEFA Champions League exit, FC Internazionale Milano midfielder Wesley Sneijder complimented FC Schalke 04 on their 7-3 aggregate win and sought solace in a crucial week of domestic fixtures, saying: "We must look forward."
Sneijder had a lively match, sending two early shots in on goal and narrowly missing Manuel Neuer's near post with a low free-kick, but the Dutch international admitted Schalke were worth their 2-1 win at the Arena AufSchalke. Well beaten over two legs, the holders must now concentrate on the resumption of their Serie A title defence at Parma FC on Saturday, before the first leg of their Coppa Italia semi-final at AS Roma three days later.
"In my opinion, Schalke played well again tonight," said Sneijder. "They played well at our place and that‘s where this tie was won really. By losing 5-2 at home it was always going to be tough here, but never mind. There's nothing we can do now, apart from look forward. On Saturday we have another match to prepare for and we want to win the Scudetto, which will also be hard, not to mention the Coppa Italia. So we still have two trophies to play for and we must look ahead."
After going behind on the night to Raúl González's strike on half-time, Thiago Motta briefly gave the visitors hope, only for Benedikt Höwedes to put the tie out of sight nine minutes before the final whistle. "When Thiago scored we had belief that we could do it, but we still had four more goals to score, which in the end was a bit much," Sneijder said.
"Schalke played very well again, just like in Milan, even if we created lots of chances from the very start," the 26-year-old continued. "We began the game well but we just needed to score. When you don't score it makes getting four goals pretty hard, especially when you only have 45 minutes to do it."
Sneijder, who won the treble in his first season with the Nerazzurri, insisted he was not surprised by how well Schalke had performed, and paid tribute to their "great quality, particularly up front", before sparing some kind words for Inter's travelling contingent. "
Our fans are always behind us home and away, and even today they came in their droves," he said. "We need to play for them, for the club and for ourselves."
The former AFC Ajax and Real Madrid CF man nonetheless refused to dwell on the defeat, with so much still up for grabs between now and the end of term. "We must forget this match and put it behind us," he said. "We may be out, but there is still the Scudetto to fight for and we'll start against Parma on Saturday. It'll be hard, but we want to win the league and go for the Coppa Italia. All is not lost."
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