Tuesday August 18 2020
Conte's Inter is here

It’s been a decade since Inter fans witnessed a team in a European Final, but above all a side with such organisation, hunger and laser focus to thrash Shakhtar Donetsk 5-0, writes Richard Hall.

It really is a new era. Physically, tactically and mentally, everything went right for Inter as they cruised past Shakhtar Donetsk 5-0 in the Europa League semi-final. The Nerazzurri are the first Italian club to reach the Europa League Final since Parma in 1999, when it was still the UEFA Cup and a young Gigi Buffon was in goal, and they are determined to go on and win the competition. It is true that Sevilla will be tough opposition, but if Antonio Conte can get the same levels of performance out of his team as he did last night, then they stand a very good chance of achieving what they set out to do and lift the trophy.

Diego Godin alluded to it before the game. Inter needed to cut out Shakhtar’s passing channels. In the final third, they certainly did this, although Conte’s tactics were to allow the Ukrainians the ball in some areas. Inter sat deep and absorbed the opposition’s pressure, they made sure there was never any definitive ball in dangerous areas. The plan to allow them to attack, break up the play and hit them on the counter worked perfectly, especially as Donetsk had such a high defensive line.

Romelu Lukaku also spoke after the game of how they knew if they kept the centre of defence closed, they would physically be too much for their opponents. The Belgian was exemplary once again, bagging a brace and an assist in the 5-0 drubbing. It is fair to heap praise on the attacking players, Lautaro Martinez who also netted twice and created a goal, was electric and Nicolò Barella showed once again that he is developing into a world-class midfielder.

The former Cagliari man seemed to be everywhere, snapping at the heels of every Shakhtar player, leading the high press and of course providing the assist for the opening Lautaro Martinez header. The little terrier is also learning to focus more and not lunge into unnecessary tackles. It’s amazing Barella has developed a skill at 23 that fellow Italy international Marco Verratti has still not come close to at 27.

It has to be said however, that one of the main reasons that these complete team performances are happening more often under Conte, is because of the defensive organisation. Stefan de Vrij was in fine form, whilst the experience from Godin and the maturity shown from Alessandro Bastoni, allowed the rest of the Nerazzurri to be able to carry out the plan. They trusted the defence, they trusted the goalkeeper and that allowed the full-backs and midfielders to sit when needed and break when needed.

It has been 10 years since Inter last won in Europe, that was the unforgettable 2010 Treble team, but the fans are now beginning to dream again. The defensive stability will certainly be something that will also bring hope, as solid defences have been at the heart of so many great Inter sides. Whether Helenio Herrera’s Grande Inter, to Giovanni Trapattoni’s side of the late 1980’s to the aforementioned Jose Mourinho’s Treble winners, all were solid at the back. Perhaps the irony of Inter is that they have often not focused on the back line in order to fund the star-studded creative players that the Morattis loved so much.

On the strength of the last couple of months, Conte deserves to be given absolutely anything he wants. It’s been a decade since Inter have shown this kind of hunger, let alone work-rate and efficiency. He said he knew the ‘steps’ this team needed to go through in order to become a truly top level outfit and his tough love approach was purely aimed at making them stronger. His methods might not be diplomatic, but he has proved himself more than worthy of Suning’s absolute trust.

The Final in Cologne on Friday night has the potential to be a fantastic affair, as Inter seem unstoppable at the moment, but take on the Europa League serial winners Sevilla. On the strength of the 5-0 victory against Shakhtar Donetsk, Manchester United will probably be quite relieved they won’t get that reunion with Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez and Ashley Young.

This isn’t just about the trophy now, but the future for Inter. Victory would ensure an easier draw in the Champions League group phase, above all marking the start of this new Conte era with silverware and maintaining spectacular momentum across the brief summer break, able to challenge for more trophies next season and beyond. As the hashtag said, #InterIsComing. Well, they’re here.

Have your say...
where are the delusional losers with 1/2 of Juve's revenue now? :)
on the 24th August, 2020 at 1:08am
@David, nice try... But it's too obvious that you cant deny : Inter is always be TRASH...
on the 22nd August, 2020 at 7:16pm
Juve have more won serie B titles than european the last 25 years.

Ill see you when Juve win their 4th CL, and catch up with Inter.
Just kidding-wont happen:)
on the 22nd August, 2020 at 10:48am

Still avoids answering the question.
on the 21st August, 2020 at 7:50pm
@Luca: If I were you i surely would not want to hear Juventini saying "any Trophy Juve does not compete for Inter has a chance at winning" HAHAHAHAHA!!
on the 21st August, 2020 at 5:54pm

You didn't answer my question, you just spouted out the same stuff as you always do so i'll ask again. As a Juve fan would you rather get knocked out in the last 16 of the CL by Lyon or win the Europa League?
on the 21st August, 2020 at 7:42am
There will be only three words to describe Inter after Europa League final : always.
on the 20th August, 2020 at 7:57pm
@Anonymous: From Treble to 6th 9th 5th 8th 4th 7th 4th 4th trophies, 3 owners, 115 million pissed down the drain for Joao Mario+Kondogbia+Gabi-one-Gol ..... the only parade inter fans had was to celebrate Inter's acquisition of, what happened ? Well it's simple: Juve won the scudetto and history shows that the last time Inter won a scudetto after Juve was the 52-53 season - 67 years ago. Just remember, anything Juve does not compete for Inter has a chance at winning !
on the 20th August, 2020 at 4:44pm
for 10 years straight juventus dominate series a but failed to win any single UCL. has better squad than inter 2010 treble, twice on finals to be embarrassing italian football. even ronaldo can not carried this shambolic juventus. has upper management stability unlike inter who change owner 3x. but juve still disappointing on european.
maybe they need stop changing coach or buying star players instead signed referee for them to win UCL with their help like they did when winning series a
on the 20th August, 2020 at 1:39pm
@ Luca: I would be embarrassed about Juve's Champion's league performance if we got kicked out of the group stage after blowing a 2-0 half time lead and losing 3-2 only to hear my coach say " Other than Godin, this team has won Nothing!" or to hear him saying " who do i got ? Barella from Cagliari and Sensi from Sassuolo?" now that is embarrassing !!!
on the 19th August, 2020 at 6:47pm
@Anonymous: And Inter are good enough for Champion's league ?If it wasn't for Fifa giving back 4th place Inter would have made it back to CL for the first time in How many years ??? From Serie B to Champion's league final in 9 years for Juve....Inter can't even make it past the CL group stage in 9 years !!
on the 19th August, 2020 at 6:44pm
@Another League Win

Talk all you want about how juve's cycle is sustainable with regards to winning. But the truth is they designed it that way by finding yet another way to cheat. Since they were unable to compete against Inter and Milan, they figured the best way to win was to crumble the clubs from milan so they ended up the last man standing.

How did they pull it off? By having their old pal Platini institute FFP which instantly targeted Berlusconi and Moratti's teams forcing them to sell
on the 19th August, 2020 at 4:16pm
As a LAZIO fan i want Inter Milan to win it it's good for SERIE A etc . Conte has done a excellent job in first season and i am sure they will win scudetto soon with conte. Juventus era will collapse soon.
on the 19th August, 2020 at 2:24pm
Conte was one of the thieves, and Inter fans love him now because he's a true story of a criminal comes good. Everyone wants to believe in the good in people.
on the 19th August, 2020 at 11:46am
Make no mistake, this is ALL credit to Conte. Despite a unprofessional, loser club structure and heirarchy behind him, which he's publicly criticised on several occasions, he's managed to create a team that plays with grit...just like he did with a Juve that finished 7th twice on the bounce. The different will be in the longevity. Juve's structures meant that they created a winning cycle; Inter has never done that, even when they won the treble, they then crumbled into oblivion. Time will tell.
on the 19th August, 2020 at 10:46am
I like the way Inter fans love Conte now. A few seasons ago, he was a Juve thief who could only win by buying refs in Italy. Now what's changed? Your sporting humility is as paper thin as those cardboard scudetti that you cling to so tightly. Congratulations on coming within a point of a mediocre Juve. Heck, if we'd finished level, we'd still have had a better head to head.
on the 19th August, 2020 at 10:41am

As others have mentioned Hakimi is a massive upgrade on the right. For the left i'd like to see Kostic or Gosens come in both of whom are hard working, fast and physical and both have excellent crossing ability. Other than that general squad depth like Tonali and Kumbulla + maybe a back up striker but that could be Salcedo if they decide to loan out Esposito and keep Salcedo
on the 19th August, 2020 at 8:25am

You talk so much rubbish it's unbelievable. Are you telling me you'd rather get knocked out in the last 16 of the champions league than win the Europa League? You should be embarrassed by how Juve have performed in Europe this season not drawing attention to it. Keep your head down and come back when you have something interesting to say
on the 19th August, 2020 at 8:21am
Well done Inter for getting to the final. Now win it for Serie A. Any team in Europe should be proud to win this tournament and then play the Supercup in Sept
on the 19th August, 2020 at 7:06am
part 2 - no point having a world class starting 11 and then get a ton of injuries and end up playing rano, Valero, Gags, etc. When players coming in equal the quality already there, inter will go far!
on the 19th August, 2020 at 6:54am
@ACM - when fully fit, inter have a fantastic team. Only weakness - the wingbacks. Without a doubt, a lot of this season's failures resulted from this. We have signed Hakimi (top 5 wingback in the world - saw this first hand he demolished us in CL) and if we can get someone for the other side, we will be up there with the best! After that, all we need is to strenghten the bench options. Obviously conte runs players into the ground to get them fit, but injuries do happen. part 1
on the 19th August, 2020 at 6:52am
EL might not be as prestigious as UCL, but still european major silverware. In this decade, during juve's serie-A domination, italian clubs have failed to win even 1 european trophy. So, this year EL is considered as the last chance for any italian clubs to win something.

Since we've signed hakimi for RWB, which is fantastic because he already exploded in UCL and actually owned by madrid, maybe we can get theo for LWB? is that fantasy signing?
Joke aside, Tonali-Kumbula-Radu and we're set.
on the 19th August, 2020 at 3:55am
This europa league is massive. Its not just a normal europa league where you got the chance to play against ecl winner, its also a chance to get the qualification for fifa's new club world cup tourney. The stake has never been this high before. Inter has to win it to make that leap forward.
on the 19th August, 2020 at 3:37am
Any competitition that is not italian Juve have no chance of winning.

25 years lol. Last time Juve won in Europe Conte helped as a player. Keep pretending.

And btw lets have at look at the Europa League 2014.
Semifinals Juve knocked out by Benfica
Sevilla beat Valencia.

Final(in Juve Stadium lol) Sevilla beat Benfica on penalties.

Another Juve disaster in Europe.
on the 19th August, 2020 at 12:08am
A great performance by inter. As mentioned in the other comments inter have come a long way, are fine tuned by conte and have some top notch players. A question to others... who would you like to see inter sign and in what areas that you think would improve and raise the quality of the team even further. Realistic signings, that you could genuinely see inter sign, not fantasy football
on the 18th August, 2020 at 9:19pm
lol and Juve are good enough for CL? remind me when was the last time they won?

But hey, at least they had a chance to look at the trophy up close.
on the 18th August, 2020 at 7:53pm
Any Competition that Juve is not in Inter has a chance of winning ! So it's the trophy for those not good enough to make it to Champion's league and the champion's league rejects....or you can call it a second tier competition, so is coppa Tim for Interisti but when you support a team that went 9 years without winning anything even lifting a coppa tim is something !! But if you lose don't be upset, at least you had a chance to look at the trophy up close !
on the 18th August, 2020 at 6:36pm
As a Juve fan big props to Inter!!! This is what is wrong with Serie A and its fans... Too many seem to think they are too good for Europa... go ahead and win the damn thing!! What? Are you waiting for UCL only?? That is exactly why Sevilla is a Europa machine... they just get the job done without pretending to be special and deserving of UCL only. I applaud Inter!! They can take this experience and build from it.
on the 18th August, 2020 at 3:45pm
I am a Juve fan
but I hope they win it
good for Italian football
and good for Conte, I think the criticism of him in Europe is harsh given he was quite inexperienced when he took JUve in, the team was only just being built after some 7th place finishes, and the quality of Madrid and Barca etc back then was something else. I want him to be able to stick his fingers up to those critics
on the 18th August, 2020 at 3:33pm
Amazing work from Inter. 1 point behind Juve in Serie A and in a European final. Their squad has an even higher ceiling so excited to see what happens next season.

Also, if I were the owner I'd let Conte scream all he wants. That's his personality and how he wins by critiquing everything. Not sure why people get so offended. Let him off the leash and have him go nuts.
on the 18th August, 2020 at 2:37pm

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