Fin­ish with no re­grets, says Conte as In­ter go for Eu­ropa glory

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport Football - By Sam Dean

An­to­nio Conte has urged his In­ter Mi­lan team, fea­tur­ing a series of for­mer Premier League stars, to leave the field with “no re­grets” at the end of tonight’s Eu­ropa League fi­nal against Sevilla.

The for­mer Chelsea man­ager is look­ing to end his first sea­son at In­ter with his first tro­phy since de­part­ing Eng­land, as are the likes of Ash­ley Young, Chris­tian Erik­sen, Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez. Vic­tory in Cologne would pro­vide In­ter with their first tro­phy in nine years and would vin­di­cate the de­ci­sions of the for­mer Premier League play­ers to leave Eng­land in search of a new chal­lenge.

In­ter have been able to com­pete for the Eu­ropa League only be­cause of their elim­i­na­tion from the Cham­pi­ons League group stages ear­lier this sea­son, and Conte said his team needed that dis­ap­point­ment in or­der to de­velop.

“It has been a pos­i­tive sea­son,” he said. “We have made ma­jor im­prove­ments. We have man­aged to get to the Eu­ropa League fi­nal, de­spite the small dis­ap­point­ment of not get­ting through the Cham­pi­ons League group stage.

“It has al­lowed us to have a much more suc­cess­ful jour­ney in the Eu­ropa League than we would have had in the Cham­pi­ons League. This team – with a lot of young, in­ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers – needed that.

“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. 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.”

Conte will be hop­ing to ex­tend the tro­phy­less run of Sevilla man­ager Julen Lopetegui, the for­mer

Real Madrid and Spain head coach who is yet to win a se­nior ti­tle as a man­ager. Sevilla, who de­feated Manch­ester United in Sun­day’s semi-fi­nal, are the most suc­cess­ful team in the tour­na­ment’s his­tory, hav­ing lifted the tro­phy five times.

But Lopetegui has said their record of suc­cess will not pro­vide them with an ad­van­tage, even though they have never lost a one-off knock­out match in the Uefa Cup or Eu­ropa League. “This is a com­pletely new and dif­fer­ent team, with dif­fer­ent play­ers and a dif­fer­ent man­ager,” he said. “It helps that the club have reached this stage be­fore, but I don’t think it’s an ad­van­tage. In­ter are a team equipped to com­pete in the Cham­pi­ons League, given the cal­i­bre of play­ers they have, and their very ex­pe­ri­enced man­ager.”

Sanchez is an in­jury doubt for the fi­nal, as is Sevilla winger Lu­cas Ocam­pos.

Thriv­ing: Romelu Lukaku is one of sev­eral ex-Premier League play­ers in In­ter side

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