Inter is a world class team - Sevilla's Lopetegui ahead of Europa final

Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui is aware Inter has a top-class team, but is confident of his side putting up a strong show when the two sides clash in the Europa League final.

Julen Lopetegui

Julen Lopetegui's Sevilla is aiming for a record-extending sixth Europa League title.   -  Reuters

Sevilla heaped praise on its Europa League final opponent Inter Milan ahead of Friday's showpiece game, warning that any mistakes it makes will be mercilessly punished by Antonio Conte's side.

Sevilla has won Europe's second-tier competition a record five times but Inter is the favourite after trouncing Shakhtar Donetsk 5-0 in the semifinal, with forwards Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku in sparkling form.

“Inter are team full of world-class players, but we are excited about the final and determined to put in a great performance,” Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui told a news conference on Thursday.

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“We will have to play to our strengths and be a team that works hard for each other as well as a reliable one that plays as it knows how. Our opponents will ensure we will have to be at our very best,” he added.

 

Midfielder Joan Jordan echoed his coach's sentiments. “Our opponents are very difficult to play against and we have a lot of respect for them, it's going to be one of those games which are decided by the finest of margins,” he said.

Serbian midfielder Nemanja Gudelj said Inter was a side more worthy of the Champions League than the Europa League, but added that his team's record in this year's competition, in which it has knocked out AS Roma, Wolverhampton Wanders and Manchester United, gave it belief.

“If we go into this game as we have been playing recently we know we can beat any opponent. I have a lot of confidence in our team,” he said.

- Only the winner is remembered, says Conte -

Antonio Conte, a Premier League winner with Chelsea and triple Serie A champion with Juventus as a coach, said he felt a sense of responsibility to win a trophy with Inter.

“The moment I accepted this job I said we had to try and win something and that perception has grown each day,” he said.

“I have got a very good group of players who always want to improve, to work hard, and now they have a chance to do something historic,” he continued.

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The former midfielder also reflected on his experience in finals as a player ahead of Inter's first European final since winning the 2010 Champions League under Jose Mourinho.

“We should be very proud of reaching a final after 10 years but we have to remember that the winner goes down in history,” he said .

“I played many finals as a player, I won one Champions League final but lost three and I've realised that only the winner is remembered, so that should give us extra motivation,” he added.

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