Antonio Conte is pleased that Inter ‘were not afraid to get stuck in and fight for every ball’ against Getafe, while praising the club for signing Alexis Sanchez.
Goals from Romelu Lukaku and Christian Eriksen secured the 2-0 victory in Gelsenkirchen, but Getafe threatened to equalise when Jorge Molina fired a penalty off target.
They have booked their place in the Europa League Final Eight tournament, ready to face Bayer Leverkusen or Glasgow Rangers in the quarter-final.
“We knew full well the difficulties this game could bring,” the coach told Sky Sport Italia.
“Getafe started strong and we immediately got a forward run wrong with Stefan de Vrij. They were going for the second ball and to make it physical. They were stronger at the beginning, but we got the game in hand and started to pass the ball around.
“We expected it to be a ‘dirty’ game and we were not afraid to get dirty with them. That’s a great sign, as it’s that determination to get stuck in and fight for every ball, something we missed at times this season.
“Progressing in Europe is also a chance to gain experience. I am happy with the performance. We could’ve had an even better scoreline. Romelu scored a great goal, attacking the space with the other striker moving towards him. I think Romelu took a while to get into the game, but then he made the difference as he stepped up a level. We had more chances to score.
“I am glad that the lads proved they want to keep going and aren’t ready to go on vacation yet.”
Inevitably, there were questions on Conte’s post-Atalanta rant to TV cameras, in which he said his future was not guaranteed at Inter and the club gave “zero protection” to him or his squad.
However, he shrugged those off and focused on celebrating the news Alexis Sanchez has signed a three-year contract with Inter, terminating his Manchester United deal early.
“I think the Alexis Sanchez move is a great one made by the club. Considering the conditions we managed to get Alexis, it was a really good transfer.
“He had come off two years when he was really struggling at Manchester United, then he got this injury with us and we took the time to get him back on track, so it’s only right that we are now able to reap the rewards of that effort,” continued Conte.
“I am happy when I see the lads with that determination and hunger. They are becoming a tough team with everyone involved, whether they are playing or not.
“I’m happy for Christian Eriksen, as like all players, he needs a situation to go his way and suddenly everything seems positive. He’s a good lad, he knows I make choices for the good of Inter, but the fact he immediately got into the game and scored is important. Christian is part of the Inter squad, he is adapting and settling in.”
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