Inter Milan head coach Antonio Conte expects his players to confront Sevilla without fear in Friday’s Europa League final, win the title and enjoy the privilege of being Champions.
Inter Milan have won the Europa League three times – in 1990/9091, 1993/1993 and 1997/1998, but it’s Sevilla who bagged it as many times consecutively from 2014 to 2016 that could make any opponent worry.
Conte fielded questions from reporters in Friday’s pre-match news conference, and shrugged off one about how to deal with a possible fear factor when facing an opponent like Sevilla.
“I dont use the word ‘fear’. I don’t want my players to have it in their locker either,” Conte said.
“We really rate the opposition and we rate their history in this competition.
“That said, if we’ve managed to reach the final it’s because we also have our strengths and we will try to play to our strengths.”
Conte recalls how he played some tough finals during his playing days and reirerates the importance of being a champion, believing that his players are ready to fight for the ultimate prize.
“I was involved in a number of finals in my playing career. I won some of those matches but l also lost a number of finals,” said the former Juventus and Italy midfielder.
“What l’ve realised is that people only remember when you win finals.
“I won the Champions League but I also lost a further three in the final. The people who leave their mark on history are those that win those matches and trophies.”
Conte added: “We should be proud we’ve reached a European final for the first time in 10 years,” Conte said.
“But history is written by the conquerors, the winners. History will only record ultimately the team that wins this season’s Europa
“It’s a shame but equally that’s added motivation for us.
“All the players, the staff, the kitman, the groundsmen, all of them have that feeling and that percentage has only grown day in,
day out because the players are very willing to work hard,’ said Conte.
“They’ve got a lot of desire to improve. They want to lead from the front this season and achieve something. Credit goes to the
players and my perception has grown day in, day out working with these players.
“All of them bought into the work we did and became braver as the season has gone on. The braver we became, the greater scope we had to go on and win a big trophy like the Europa League. We need to make the most of the
opportunity,” Conte stated.