Conte evasive on Inter future ahead of Europa League final

Antonio Conte refused to address his future as Inter coach ahead of the Europa League final, saying he is taking it "one day at a time".

Antonio Conte

Inter coach Antonio Conte engages in a training session ahead of the Europa League final against Sevilla.   -  AP Photo

Antonio Conte refused to address his future as Inter coach Thursday, a day ahead of the Europa League final against Sevilla, after previously saying the club should do more to push back against criticism of him and the team.

After the last Serie A game of the season against Atalanta on August 1, Conte said that the club “did not protect us very well” from criticism and “attacks” from outside. Inter finished second in Serie A, one point behind champion Juventus.

Asked on Thursday if the Europa League final could be his last game as Inter coach, Conte said through a translator that “over the years, I’ve learned to take things one day at a time. And at this moment in time, I’m really trying to savor this opportunity.”

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Conte added that he wouldn’t be satisfied with a second runner-up placing this season if Inter loses to Sevilla.

"What I’ve realised is that people only actually remember when you win finals. I won the Champions League (as a player with Juventus in 1996), but I also lost a further three in the final,” he said.

 

One potential injury doubt for Inter is Alexis Sanchez. The Chilean forward was an unused substitute in the semifinal against Shakhtar Donetsk with a strained right hamstring.

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For Sevilla, the key question is the fitness of the team’s top scorer Lucas Ocampos, who scored the winning goal against Wolverhampton in the 1-0 win in the quarterfinals. Ocampos was substituted with a knee problem during the 2-1 semifinal defeat of Manchester United.

"We’ll have a look during today’s training sessions and we’ll see Lucas, how he’s getting on. He’s had an extra day to recover, but everyone needs to be 100 percent  tomorrow night,” coach Julen Lopetegui said through a translator.

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