Inter coach Luciano Spalletti held a press conference which was concluded moments ago ahead of tomorrow’s Serie A fixture at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara, kick-off at 20:45 CET. Below you can read the entire press conference in English.
How is the team doing in terms of energy? Are you thinking about resting a few players?
“Dalbert and D’Ambrosio have recovered, generally the squad has recovered after having made an above average performance on a ground that was dry, tall grass, hot temperature and stony pitch. Crotone suffered more cramps than we did but everything is absorbed. Today the players had all recovered and have adjusted to our current situation, the double matches in only a few days inbetween, and I think they wont have any problems.”
Do you think that in certain matches Icardi can still grow his game in terms of workrate without the ball? Is this his objective?
“I have complimented him but I like having a margin to grow further and improve. All week he and Perisic have continued to suffer with their shoulders facing the opponents goal, if this continues that we cannot find them to pass them the ball it means that they are too far away from the rest of team on the pitch. They need to play inside the team, they must also know that they cans till improve. They can give us so much but just like we need them, they too need us. We have to work to find the best productivity. Icardi is impossible to stop inside the penalty area, he is like a viper.”
Do you think it is correct to say that 2 months ago it was right not to expect to see Inter in the top 3?
“I don’t know and this doesn’t interest me that much. What interests me is that the team knows that we are not ready to go on autopilot. The team needs to draw out their path as we did last Sunday and we need to steer many more that come at us. They say that the league is divided between the small and bigger teams, Crotone behaved like a team that knows its fate and they created a lot of difficulties for us. So I say that they were good and we were just as good maybe forcing us to pull out something special on a personal level like Handanovic did. Juventus have won league titles thanks to saves Buffon has made and Inter has a goalkeeper of the highest quality. We have to be aware that we need be constant in our performances and ready to face everything, react to every ball, because it is subtle times like that which maje the difference. These smaller teams know how to use it, they have to know how to use it better, and if we don’t turn up showcasing these qualities the result could go another way.”
Can Joao Mario and Brozovic play next to Borja Valero?
“I like midfielders that can continusly rotate, who know how to stretch out 10 meters in their movement pattern. A static midfield gives the opposition an advantage, those who rotate and change positions are more difficult to mark. Then it is clear that we need quality in the things we do and play in the zone that matters, in the final third of the pitch, it can be a charcteristic that we need to learn. We have to learn how to strike from this position so if your striker meets the ball he can create an alternative for you. This way the team becomes unpredictable. Both of them have the quality to do this but Candreva and Perisic have to do this too and Eder who knows how to do it really well. We need to have a lot of players move in this zone, it can be an important crossroad in our movements to score. I am against the staticness of footballers. Gagliardini wasvery productive in this role, he works a lot, even though he made mistakes, I didn’t put him in the ideal circumstances given his physical condition. They played in their half making their team very short with a ball that bounced all over the place, we needed short and fast players. But he has other qualities and you always find him in the middle, he cleans up the pitch in the middle which simplifies his team mates jobs. This way you take away a part of the pitch for your opponents to play in.”
Will you tell us the names of the 3 players that you will play in midfield?
“It will be difficult, sometimes even for me. Right now I need to think a bit more to evaluate everything. I have to take that time.”
Right now we have three teams leading the back followed by Lazio and Milan. Do you agree that the league has already been divided?
“I would like to add Sampdoria and Torino. Aside from tactics, having the courage to find young quality players, to pay attention to the time it takes for a transition, these teams will put you in a lot of difficulty if you face them line-up properly. If Inter lose the ball they know how to attack you to prevent you from reorganizing. The best player in these moments is a player who is presumptious and know how to take advantage of these situations. There are many young players but you have to be brave to let them play. Atalanta, Di Francesco’s Sassuolo. The difference is made in how you read the transitions. Today the big teams individual quality is good but that onyl when the team plays well you will get the result you want or the possibility to win. The big teams have individual and collective quality, a few years earlier it was only individual quality and so it was easier for the smaller teams to take advantage of this. Now it is more difficult. Yesterday Genoa scored and then lazio scored their third. If Crotone had scored it would have been much more difficult to stage a comeback. That detail could have brought on a different result, a trap could be just around the corner and next time we could fall in it if we don’t pay attention.”
After the match against Crotone you said that “what happened last year would not have gone down well with me?”
“You have to also listen to the question I was asked. I saw last years match well, I was Inter’s coach in the sense that I saw it very well. Everyone has to have the culture to take responsibility, to get pumped up from the praise and from the defects. It has to be like this for a team, everyone has to take responsibility. Perisic and Icardi for example, have to be inside the team, they can’t play outside the team. A leader is one who comes out in difficult situations, not one that takes prizes and titles, it is one who takes the ball when the squad is in need of it. I am not speaking ill of what happened last year, it is only a way to say that if it was me, this is what i would have learned from the situation. Someone decided to have fun by interpreting this in a bad way to write myths.”
Does it carry more weight to beat the weaker teams or do you prefer winning the direct encounters against your rivals?
“Now it takes a while for it to sink in, I hear that you say that you need to win 5-6-7 matches in a row although I don’t agree with this. What is clear is that there are matches that from an aspect of happiness and enthusiasm give you more. We need to stay attentive, depression resets your personality but excessive happiness makes you lose every measure. But it is clear that winning direct encounters gives you a sense of security, because there is a difference between the best teams and the smaller teams. These direct encounters give you more confidence, because no one can take a win from you, you have to earn it and go to Bologna and do what the others are doing, give something more because Inter is coming from 4 wins on the trot. I saw them against Napoli, we have to be like them, we have to attack them and only in this way our quality emerges.”
How is the insertion of Dalbert into the team going?
“At times he was afraid to show off his qualities in order to meet our demands, who maybe are a bit excessive. But the lad has a lot of quality, he has good feet, he is good at defending, not just out of positiong but man to man. He gives a good physical impact. So as a consequence we are calm, if anyone were to watch the match again they will see that he did great. He showed that he was a little bit shy but instead he was very concentrated.”
How is Cancelo’s recovery going? When will he be available?
“We are very attentive to the difficulties of the players, what destroys the players and the medical staff is the recurring injuries. When this happens the player loses his motivation for an even longer period of time. So if you don’t have the necessity you should give him a few more days of work, he needs to be calm. We have faith in our players, they have to be their own coaches, they have to know that they are responsible for themselves. He wants to come back, we are here to measure things. A bit like what happened to Santon who returned to training, who felt muscle pain and we decided not to risk it. Then there is a need that they tell you things but in this moment we don’t need to push them. We have the numbers to deal with the challenges that we face.”