DÜSSELDORF - The Europa League semi-final is fast approaching. Inter vs. Shakhtar Donetsk is scheduled for 21:00 CEST at the Düsseldorf Arena, and the Nerazzurri captain, Samir Handanovic, has responded to questions from journalists in a press conference.
What do you need to do to get to the final?
“We need to play at a higher level than we have done up until now, because the bar is constantly being raised. Shakhtar Donetsk are the strongest side we’ve faced yet in the Europa League, and so we’ve got to put in an even better performance than in the matches we’ve played so far.”
After Getafe and Leverkusen, now you’re facing Shakhtar, an opponent on a different level…
“Shakhtar are a side with loads of quality, and they’ve been a force to be reckoned with in Europe for more than a decade, now. One need only look at their results and how they’ve been performing on the pitch to see what kind of match we have ahead of us – not to mention the individual talents they have at their disposal. They’re quick, play with purpose, and they’ve got a legendary keeper. We’ve got to raise our game.”
Is it a particularly proud moment for you to be playing in a semi-final?
“Playing for Inter is always something to be proud of, not just on days like this. Every player who has worn these colours is proud to have done it. Now we’ve only got one thing to think about: we have to perform at a level that merits a place in the final.”
How have you been preparing this week?
“It’s been a long, hard week, we’ve got some rest, but we’ve also put in some good work. We needed these five days, and tomorrow we’ll see if we used them well.”