Conte: "Shakhtar are a strong side, but we have the qualities to do well"


Inter are set to take to the pitch in Kyiv at 18:55 CET tomorrow

KYIV – On Saturday, Inter picked up three points away to Genoa, and now the Nerazzurri are ready to take to the pitch in Kyiv to play Shakhtar Donetsk on matchday two in the UEFA Champions League. The Ukrainian side currently lead Group B on three points, while Inter and Borussia Mönchengladbach sit on one. Real Madrid haven’t yet got off the mark.

On the eve of the match at the Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex at 18:55 CET on Tuesday 27 October, Antonio Conte responded to questions from journalists, with the Inter Coach having the following to say:

Has Lukaku taken that final step and can now be compared to the very best centre-forwards in Europe? Do you think that Inter are too dependent on Lukaku?
"Romelu and Lautaro have made exponential progress, but they still have room to improve and become more important for the team. Before making comparisons with others, you need to win something. Winning competitions leads to you earning your place alongside the very best. At 27 and 23, they are both young and still have a way to go. They need to win something important.”

Inter now have a number of new players compared to when they played Shakhtar in August: could this be an advantage or disadvantage when it comes to facing such a team?
“We can’t make comparisons to the game played in August. We produced the perfect performance, both in and out of possession. We watched that match back with the lads and came to this conclusion once again. It’ll be important to repeat what we did. Shakhtar are a strong side with players who are technically gifted, fast and strong on the counter: you don’t score three goals against Real Madrid by coincidence. We hope to produce a good display and implement what we’ve prepared.”

Do Inter now play a game more suited to European football? Will this be a decisive game in terms of the group standings?
“Inter are slowly becoming a force in Europe again. We went on a great journey last year, through which everyone gained more experience. We need to continue working on our mentality, taking the game to our opponents, defending from the front and attacking the opposition. This is the mentality I want from the lads, and we need to look at ourselves. I don’t want us to be passive in and out of possession. My team needs to take the initiative and be ready to attack when we don’t have the ball. It’s clear that Shakhtar’s victory in Madrid has shaken up the group, it’ll be even until the very end. We need to remain in contention until the end and progress.”

How many Shakhtar matches have you seen, and can we expect anything new from them?“We’ve seen several of their games, including their last league fixture and their match in the Champions League. They’re a strong side who belong in European football, and I’d like to compliment them because they always manage to find really strong players. I remember when I faced them with Juventus in the Champions League, they had Fernandinho, Willian, Srna, Mkhitaryan and many others in their squad. Even today, they have many excellent players. We respect them, but we want to take them on with the weapons that we have at our disposal.”

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