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17-Aug-2020, 07:26 am

Conte: Inter not considering themselves the saviours of Italy

Antonio Conte Romelu Lukaku Inter 2019-20

Antonio Conte vowed Inter should not be portrayed as Italy's footballing "saviours" as they battle for Europa League glory.

Attentions have turned to Inter at home after Juventus fell to Lyon and Napolilost to Barcelona in the Champions League last-16, whileAtalantabowed out to Paris Saint-Germain in thequarter-finalsof thesame competition.

The Nerazzurrirepresent Italy's last hope for a European trophy this season, but Conte dismissed the notion they are playing for the nation.

The former Italy and Juventus boss said in a news conference on Sunday: "We don't consider ourselves thesavioursof the country, we've made our journey without looking at the others.

"Our goal is to improve ourselves. Personally, if we achieved a EuropeansuccessI would be happy for the club, not for myself. I'm not thinking about my personal record but about the club that decided to hire me."

Conte looks set to have to cope without the injured Alexis Sanchez, with the Chilean battling to recover from a hamstring injury.

"Sanchezhas been out for three quarters of the season," Conte said. "Now werealisewhat kind of weapon we are missing.It is normal that not having himavailable is disappointing for me and denies me a fundamental element."

At least Inter should haveRomeluLukaku available, with the former Everton and Manchester United striker having scored in his last nine matches in this competition.

That run began in 2014, in his Everton days, and Lukaku is the first player to have strung together such a run either in the Europa League or its forerunner, the UEFA Cup.

He has been involved in 15 goals during that sequence, scoring 12 times and having three assists.

Inter are through to the semi-finals of a European competition for the first time since they won the Champions League in the 2009-10 campaign, but Conte is taking nothing for granted about going any further.

He describedShakhtaras "a team full of talented players", saying Inter would show them "great respect".

Conteclosed downquestioning aboutInter'stransfer plans.Club president Steven Zhang has big ambitions for the club, with even Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi linked to Inter recently.

"At thistimeit is inappropriate to talk about the transfer market and other players," Conte said.

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