‘He’s a strong kid and we’ll try to use that’: Inter defender Danilo D’Ambrosio says Romelu Lukaku will be vital against Shahktar ahead of the Europa League semi-final … as Antonio Conte admits Ukrainians will be their strongest opponents to date.
- Romelu Lukaku will be crucial in helping Inter reach the Europa League final
- Teammate Danilo D’Ambrosio says they will harness his power
- Inter Milan boss Antonio Conte is wary of the Shakhtar Donetsk threat
- Shakhtar coach Luis Castro says his side is calm in preparation for Inter
Unstoppable power in the front, rock-solid defense in the back and the leading touch of a coach enjoying a memorable first season at Inter Milan.
The question is whether former Chelsea coach Antonio Conte can persuade his in-form team to last just two more games, starting Monday night against Shakhtar Donetsk.
Forward Romelu Lukaku scored 31 goals this season, while Inter only conceded one in six games.
Romelu Lukaku can shoot Inter to the Europa League final, says teammate Danilo D’Ambrosio
Lukaku’s teammate Danilo D’Ambrosio praised the forward and said Inter will use his power
Teammate and defender Danilo D’Ambrosio said: ‘Romelu is doing something extraordinary thanks to the team, which allowed him to score and help him with their runs off the ball. He’s a strong guy and we try to use that as much as possible, especially in the opponent’s penalty area.
We study Shakhtar carefully. They are a strong team with a lot of individual talent. They are fast and technical. They have consistently done well over the past few seasons. They are stronger in the wider area than other teams. But we are compact, both in the defensive and in the offensive phase. ‘
Conte has warned his players that Shakhtar Donetsk poses the biggest threat to date to their hopes for glory in the Europa League.
Antonio Conte believes Shakhtar Donetsk is the biggest threat in the Europa League
The number two in Serie A will take on the Ukrainian champions in the semifinals at the Düsseldorf Arena, after dropping Spain’s Getafe in the last 16 and Germany’s Bayer Leverkusen in the quarter-finals.
However, Conte knows that the three-time winners will likely be pushed even further if they try to make it to the final again.
During his pre-game press conference, he said, “We have a lot or respect for Shakhtar. We face a team that has established itself over the years and we are well prepared.
‘[Shakhtar] are the strongest opponents we have encountered on our Europa League path so far, but we want to show that there is a reason we are in the semi-finals, and our goal is to make it to the final. ‘
Ashley Young insisted that Inter Milan thinks of nothing but Shakhtar
For 35-year-old England international Ashley Young, the task in front of him is the only focus.
Young told www.uefa.com: “Of course that’s where we want to go, the final, but we don’t think about an opponent or who we are going to play against.
‘Our concentration is on Shakhtar. That’s the next game, we’re thinking about that. That’s where all our focus is. ‘
Inter will go into the last four confrontations on the back of a 10-game unbeaten run in all competitions, but Shakhtar’s record without a defeat stretches to 11, illustrating the form that gives cause for Conte’s caution.
Shakhtar Donetsk coach Luis Castro says there is an air of calm about his side
Head coach Luis Castro insisted there was an air of calm about his side as they attempted to make it to the final of the league they won in 2009, the final season known as the UEFA Cup.
He told his press conference: ‘I am absolutely calm about the match. We are well aware that this is just another game, but of course we will take it seriously, just like everyone else and with a great desire to get to the final.
‘We know there is a fight with a very strong team, and that is not surprising. We are prepared for that.
I repeat: there is a very difficult game ahead, but Inter, I think, will also face difficulties. Peace is in our DNA and I am sure we are fully prepared for the race. ‘
Castro, as he did for the quarterfinals against Basel, appeared unshaven before the media, but revealed that was not due to superstition.
He said with a smile, “No, I just left my razor in Kiev and we can’t leave the hotel here.”