Antonio Conte spoke as if the Europa League Final defeat to Sevilla was his last game. ‘I’ll always be thankful for this opportunity, but we must plan Inter’s future, whether it’s with or without me.’
The Nerazzurri had the perfect start, Romelu Lukaku converting a penalty after five minutes, but Luuk de Jong’s brace of headers turned it around and Diego Godin got it back to 2-2.
The decisive goal was an odd one, was the Diego Carlos bicycle-kick was probably going wide until Lukaku accidentally prodded it into his own net.
“It was a tough, balanced game where in the second half one incident could change it. We had the opportunity, but instead there was that unlucky deflection off Romelu, so inevitably it became very difficult there,” Conte told Sky Sport Italia.
“Sevilla had been lowering the intensity and the quality of their passing. We have regrets to a degree, as the team gave everything it had against a team with a great deal of experience that was accustomed to these occasions and won the Final many times. In the end, that made the difference.
“These lads worked hard, grew so much and have improved. They reached the Europa League Final, many were at their first experience in Europe, so between the Champions League and Europa League, at least many of our young players gained experience for the future. That is important going forward, also for self-confidence.”
Conte had let out a furious rant at the club after the final Serie A game of the season, it was reported the situation had been clarified, but it seems that nothing has changed.
“Now we have to get back to Milan, will take two or three days off, then with cool heads will meet. It’s only right that we analyse the entire season, look at everything in a very calm way, and try to plan the future of Inter, whether it’s with or without me.
“I don’t know. We worked hard, it was a very tough season in many ways, so it’s only right to take a little rest, face the situations and make the decision that is best for Inter. There is absolutely no bitterness. There might be different views on things, but we’ll evaluate everything.
“It has been difficult and we’ll figure things out. It has been wonderful for me to be the coach of Inter, I thank the owners who allowed me to go through this great experience.
“If I can say one thing: it was worth it and I will always thank those who gave me the opportunity to have this experience.”
It was pointed out to Conte that this sounded like he was talking about Inter in the past tense.
“You don’t know what my opinion is. I’ll have my say with a cool head when the time is right. The important thing is that whatever we do is done in harmony.
“Regardless of everything, it was a positive experience and I thank those who gave me this opportunity. I was welcomed beyond the rosiest expectations. I gave a great deal to them and the players gave their all to me.
“There is no rancour, from me or the club. There are people I already worked with, so that’s not the issue. It’s about points of view, some situations that I faced this year and didn’t like, with all due respect for everyone. I have a family and I have to understand if football is the priority or my family.
“Because if some situations end up affecting my family, that is no longer enough for me. Everything has its limits, I have to see where my limits are. We’ll clarify the situation, without rancour, because I will always be grateful for having the chance to spent a great year at Inter, but on the other it was also very tough.
“If you think I will step back, I won’t. I said what I think, you heard my words and they have not changed,” insisted the coach.
“Something happened, there’s no point beating around the bush. We have to see whether everyone is prepared to not have another year like this for what happened with me.
“There are a few situations I will evaluate, it’s only right the President evaluates it too, I’ll tell the directors my views. I will always be thankful to those who gave me the chance to experience this adventure.
“Beppe Marotta, Piero Ausilio, they were all convinced I should come here and I will always thank them. It was a very tough year, there are limits to everything and if situations involve my private life, that is no longer acceptable.”