Conte: ‘Inter deserved the Final’

Antonio Conte insists Inter deserved to reach the Coppa Italia Final more than Napoli over two legs. ‘Their goalkeeper was Man of the Match and we dominated.’

It had started so well, Christian Eriksen scoring directly from the corner flag within three minutes to get the Nerazzurri level on aggregate, but Dries Mertens finalised a classic counter-attack for the equaliser on the night, 2-1 to Napoli over two legs.

“Over the two legs, I believe we deserved to reach the Final. I have very little to reproach my lads for after this evening, because this is the aggressive football I want to see, trying to dominate the game.

“We created many chances and perhaps could’ve been more clinical in front of goal, but David Ospina made some stunning saves and was decisive.

“It’s disappointing to concede that goal, as it was a naïve error we could’ve avoided. If we want to fight it out with a team like Napoli, we created so much, dominated the match and this performance bodes well for the future.

“On the Napoli goal, it was a corner and we had the right positions, but then there was a ricochet and we lost our shape. It was an error, we weren’t focused enough at that moment and we paid a heavy price. At least it’ll show us that these details are the difference at this level and help us to grow.”

Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez provided few real shots on goal this evening, particularly the Argentine, while Eriksen was in a new trequartista role.

“I see the glass half-full, I checked the statistics, and we created a great deal. Ospina was Man of the Match and saved them many times. We can improve our determination in front of goal, but I have no other complaints, as we tested out what we did in training and I am much more satisfied with the movement than I was.

“It’s disappointing for the lads not to qualify after these performances over the two legs. I am satisfied with the performance, as let’s not forget Napoli played a very defensive game to sit back and counter, so it’s never easy in these situations for midfielders to find the gap or passing channel.

“Nonetheless, we created so many opportunities and I am very happy that Eriksen is settling in better, as we’ve been able to work with him both physically and tactically, which you can tell.

Dries Mertens slots home his 122nd Napoli goal to become the club’s all-time top goalscorer

Read Also: Record-breaking Mertens sends Napoli to Italian Cup final

“Eriksen played behind the strikers in a 3-4-1-2 formation. He had to keep an eye on Diego Demme when off the ball. He covers 10-12km per game, so I am entirely satisfied with what he did today. If it wasn’t for that Ospina save, he would’ve had a brace today.

“This is the Inter I want to see, as we were aggressive, didn’t let Napoli play at all and ultimately they were saved by their goalkeeper. These are facts. We had over 60 per cent of possession, far more shots on goal. Napoli reach the Final, we tip our hats to them, but I have to analyse the performance and not just the result. I am very happy with what my team did and feel we deserved to win over two legs.”

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