Wednesday February 19 2020
Conte: 'Inter respect Ludogorets'

Antonio Conte wants Inter to face Ludogorets with “the right humility, mentality and determination to do our best,” but warns Christian Eriksen alone cannot “raise the level.”

The first leg in the Europa League Round of 32 kicks off in Razgrad on Thursday at 17.55 GMT.

“We are talking about a team that is accustomed to European competition. They have a large lead over the second-placed side in Bulgaria, so we must face this game with the right humility, mentality and determination to do our best.

“Ludogorets are in good shape, they won their last league game 6-0, so we need to be on our toes,” said the coach in his press conference.

“I don’t like to talk about individual players, as Ludogorets are a collective with a lot of quality all the way through and we need to show great respect.

“We worked on their strengths and also what could be their weaknesses.”

Inter are coming off only their second Serie A defeat of the season, 2-1 to Lazio, which pushed them down to third place.

“We were disappointed by the result, but not the performance. Lazio are one of the form sides in Italy right now, we put in a good performance and resume with our belief, our desire to improve, that must be our only objective.

“We’re in Europe and it’s right to give it our best, respect the competition as much as possible.”

Conte was asked if Eriksen can help raise the level of the Inter squad with his greater experience of top competition.

“Every individual player must think of improving himself, not hope that those by his side raise the overall level. Once those individual improvements come together, they create a stronger overall team.

“Marcelo Brozovic stayed behind, as he is still feeling ankle problems, so did not train the last couple of days and is on a personalised schedule.

“Milan Skriniar wouldn’t have played tomorrow, so I preferred to let him stay at home and fully recover, especially as he had flu a while ago and that affected his training. Everyone else is available.”

Alexis Sanchez is likely to start tomorrow with Lautaro Martinez, giving Romelu Lukaku a rest. After the injury, is he getting closer to his best level?

“I think Sanchez recovered from a bad injury, so he missed three months, now he is recovering well and is ready to start playing the game and for sure we are talking about a player who didn’t play so much over the last two years. He needs to find the best physical condition, from then will try to help us to reach our targets.”

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