“There have been lots of games in which Sampdoria have played well but come away empty-handed. We shouldn’t be fooled by the league position they’re in at the moment. They’ll want to get things back on track and take points away from San Siro. Their team is well equipped to cause us difficulties but we’re trying to prepare for this encounter as best as we possibly can.” Andrea Stramaccioni assessed the opponents Inter face tomorrow in the midweek Serie A clash at the Stadio Meazza, which kicks off at 20:45.
The coach was also keen to stress that all thoughts are on Wednesday’s game, and not Juventus v Inter: “You ask me if I’m able not to think about Juventus? Yes, personally I am able to do that. I take games one at a time and try to give everything without making any mistakes. We really are taking each game as it comes because matching our rivals’ results in each game is crucial. At the moment I have to beat Samp and I think it’s going to be extremely tough. We must make sure Inter go out there hungry to win and with an attacking mindset.”
The coach was then asked about Antonio Cassano and Andrea Ranocchia: “Antonio didn’t feel great at the end of the match because of his neck pain, but that sort of problem tends to come and go suddenly. He’s trained the last two days and he’s fine, he should be fine. As for Ranocchia, you want to know if I’ll field him tomorrow considering that he’s one booking away from suspension? He is close to a suspension, that’s true, as is Guarin. It’s a choice I have to make, a risk that I might or might not take, but I’m only thinking about Sampdoria at the moment, without making too many calculations, because if we don’t win the games in the run-up to Saturday’s head-to-head clash then it won’t be a head-to-head anymore. In any case, Ranocchia is doing superbly, both in terms of morale and his performances. He’s one of the best defenders in the league at the moment. It’s entirely my decision whether or not to field him, whether or not to take that risk. I’ll sleep on it tonight. Guarin? He’s a player we’re counting on a lot. I don’t have an awful lot of experience but I have enough to know that you can’t always be on top form, though in any case he’s never played badly. I have full confidence in him.”
The Nerazzurri coach was then quizzed about Ricky Alvarez: “He has a lot of potential but he’s also been rather unlucky. I think one thing I’m good at is showing faith in players if they deserve it beforehand, not just after they’ve scored three goals. After three goals they’re confident enough by themselves anyway. Ricky just needs to come up with a bit of magic or a goal to boost his confidence even further. He just needs to get beyond that stage, he might only need a single moment to get going and become a crowd favourite.”
What’s Esteban Cambiasso’s secret? “He’s playing well. He’s happy, I’m happy. He’s playing well like many others. It’s important to play well but it’s even more important that you keep playing well. And I think the team is doing that on the pitch.”
The coach also commented on Rodrigo Palacio, Joel Obi, Juan Jesus and Wesley Sneijder: “Palacio is doing great but so are all our strikers. Obi’s old injury flared up a little, nothing serious, but he’s a Swarovski… [he smiles] so we’ve wrapped him up for a bit. He’s too important a prospect for us. Will Juan Jesus’s suspension be a problem? He’s doing brilliantly, no doubt about that, but no team depends on one or two players. When will Sneijder return? I hope he can start working towards a return after the Juventus game, we’ll see when the doctor feels is the right time to bring him back.”