"It's a final, and only the best teams get to the final," the Inter Milan coach tells UEFA.com.
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Hired in May 2019, Antonio Conte has moulded Inter Milan into his own image, his side emerging as an ultra-committed and supremely cohesive outfit at the UEFA Europa League finals in Germany to earn a place in Friday’s final against Sevilla.
The 51-year-old's team also finished just one point behind his old club, champions Juventus, in Serie A, and Conte is taking plenty of encouragement from the Nerazzurri's campaign. He now hopes that, one way or another, Inter will have no regrets after their title showdown with Sevilla.
On his first season at Inter
We still have to draw our final conclusions as there's still one more match, which for us is the most important game – it's a final, the chance to win a major trophy. I certainly think it's been a positive season overall. We've done important things and have made major improvements.
We've managed to get to the UEFA Europa League final, despite the small disappointment of not getting through the Champions League group stage. We see the glass as half full, because [that disappointment] has allowed us to have a much more successful journey in the Europa League than we would have had in the Champions League. I think this team, with a lot of young, inexperienced players, needed that.
On the Romelu Lukaku-Lautaro Martínez partnership
I knew Lukaku very well because he's a player I'd followed for some time. I tried many times to sign him at my former clubs. I knew the characteristics he had. As for Lautaro, he was a player I had admired on television, even though he hadn't played much last year. I saw his capability and his quality. It was inevitable that, working together, and working a lot, the understanding between the two would develop. They're players who have the typical selfishness of a forward, but also the selflessness to play for the team and help others score.
On Diego Godín
He needed some time to adjust to our style of play, which was completely different from what he was used to [at Atlético Madrid]. He had to learn to defend while running forward, and to learn to defend with 50 yards of space behind him. He had the strength, professionalism and humility to make himself available and broaden his game in terms of playing style. So credit to him. He put himself out there and took on the new challenge, and now he is seeing great results.
On the final against Sevilla
It will be a tough game. We're playing the team with the most experience and who have won the most titles over the last decade of this competition. We have to be attentive, but also play our own game with great enthusiasm and courage, like we have done so far. It's a final and only the best teams get to the final. So we have to show on the pitch that we're the best if we want this trophy.
We have to play with the desire to win and bring the trophy back to Italy – and to bring a trophy back to Inter. Sevilla will have the same idea, so we have to show that we're the better team. For me, it's always important to be able to say to the lads, at the end of the game, that we don't have any regrets. If we're the better side, we’ll lift the trophy. If not, we’ll have given our all, and we'll applaud our opponents.