Stefano Pioli met the press at Appiano Gentile ahead of Sunday’s Serie A fixture against Empoli at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, in Milano’s San Siro district. The Inter coach reiterated that his team played well against Juventus despite the loss, stating that the team need to take the positive performance with them going into the Empoli fixture.
How does one ignore all the controversy of the last week?
“We’ve only focused on the pitch, on working, leaving the episodes of the match last Sunday and forgetting the result. We will bring the performance with us going into this match but we know that we must return to our winning ways quickly. Inter will return to winning, it’s inevitable.”
What did you get from the match in Turin?
“The certainty that our work is producing good results and that tiny details in matches can decide the outcome and that we must pay attention also to these things. Namely that every match situation, ever ball could be decisive, we can’t allow ourselves to not pay attention. We have to get a move on, if we finished the first half of the season with 33 points and we wish to finish third we must get as many points as possible and always look to give our all.”
What kind of atmosphere are you expecting at the San Siro?
“We’ve worked well, I saw a motivated team and a team that was decisive to get back to winning ways, we know that we’ve suffered two losses but we have the quality to get back to winning. With all due respect to an Empoli side that is playing well, but we can win and we have the will to do so.”
Seems like a neverending match everytime Juventus play Inter…
“It’s not the first time this happens when you’re talking about two glorious and important clubs. I have already said all that I needed to say to everyone involved after the match ended, and so from the following day I’ve only thought about the match against Empoli.”
Do you have the feeling that it’s fair to say that the referee decided the outcome of Juventus vs Inter?
“I haven’t looked at the videos, I live through my feelings at the time and whatever I needed to say, I also said after the match.”
Could what happened in Turin actually have a reverse effect of reuniting the team?
“Yes, because we saw a will to go home with the win when playing against a very important team, as well as trying to do so as well with all our power. We need to be lucid but also know that at times we have to accept the decisions of others. But we believe in what we’re doing, we fight until the very end and this is very positive.”
Mauro Icardi always plays as he never injures himself, but now he’s not available. Was it a deliberate decision not to have a proper back-up player for him?
“Mauro is very important, there is no doubt about this as is Perisic and Brozovic. It will be a chance for us to show that we are a team, we have a lot of great players and we have prepared to field our best available line-up. We have Palacio, Eder, Pinamonti and Barbosa. We have substitutes.”
After these two defeats, does the team have the mental strength? Could this be Gabigol’s moment?
“The mental strength is there due to what I’ve seen this past week and now we have to demonstrate it. We will evaluate Gabigol during the week.”
After the atmosphere at the Juventus Stadium, how does one return to take on Empoli?
“By working with the maximum intensity, knowing that every match means a lot, there’s things that need doing well, by remaining concentrated, motivated, because we want to return soon to winning ways. We decide our destiny and we want to do well.”
Are some sensations the same now that youre Inter’s coach when compared to when you’ve coached other teams?
“The pain of defeat is the same abd we have to look to try not to go through it again.”
The Champions League places are still there, do you think that you need to go on another run of wins in a row?
“In Marbella we knew the path we had to walk on in order to return to fight for the Champions League spots, we have only had one non-expected bump against Juventus even though we could have won, but we need to win more matches if we want to finish among the top 3 positions at the end of the season.”
Do you think that you need 80 points to qualify for the Champions League?
“The teams ahead of us are speeding on, there are many teams still in the running, it’s a balanced league but we can only be sure of making up the deficit in terms of points in direct encounters against our rivals. It’s difficult to see that they will drop points even though they play in Europe in the middle of the week. We have to take it one match at a time, we’re doing well and now we have to produce a high level performance on the pitch, concentrated, angry. The losses hurt you but now is when you see the true character of a team.”
Do you think you’ll turn to a 3-man defence?
“We’ve deployed a different defence to the usual 4-man backline in other matches as well such as against Fiorentina, I like to look for the weaknesses and characteristics of our opponents. There is no such thing as fixed positions, we look to find and attack spaces and we will do this on Sunday as well.”
Eder and Palacio have already played together with Palacio up front, is that how you see things?
“The characteristics are these, it’s important to put the players in a position where they can express their full capacity. Palacio knows how to move and attack deep and also how to move towards the winger. We must also look to get our midfielders involved. Then a lot of things also depends on the formation of our opponents.”
You have lost the direct encounters with the teams above you, does that mean that Inter find themselves in the position that the team deserves?
“It can’t be a coincidence, against Napoli we weren’t the team we are right now. Sunday we demonstrated that we’ve raised our level, we are getting closer but we have to still overcome the small difference that exists between us and the teams ahead of us.”