Handanovic: “Inter’s Decline Was Psychological”
Samir Handanovic took part in a long interview with Corriere dello Sport. The Slovenian started by giving his thoughts on Inter’s upcoming fixture on Sunday against Napoli.
“We have to concentrate on ourselves, not what our rivals are doing, we know Napoli well enough, we know how they play and their strengths”.
Callejon, Mertens or Insigne: who would you take take out of the Azzurri trident?
“I would remove…Sarri because all three players follow him. Also, Allan, Koulibaly, Zielinski and Hamsik are all really strong and have improved so much with him on the bench. It was Sarri who allowed them to express themselves to the maximum and now they’ve made a breakthrough”.
What do you remember about the 0-0 at the San Paolo?
“We were playing well in the first half, we probably should of scored but we just missed the final ball. However, we have to keep the ball more because the more you allow Napoli to play their Football, the harder it becomes”.
If Inter don’t reach the Champions League this year, how much of a failure will it be?
“It is an eventuality, it is our duty to ignore negativity, we must react and return to the team we were in the first half of the season”.
Are you satisfied with the Nerazzurri’s season so far?
“If you had asked me in December I would of said yes and I would of added that it would be important to maintain that form and concentration up until the end. Now, I’m less satisfied. Over the course of the Championship every team will have it’s downs and this is definitely a severe one that we must overcome”.
Were you one dreaming about a League Title or did you agree with Spalletti about only focusing on qualifying for the Champions League?
“Dreaming was legitimate at the time and I must admit that even I was not immune to it but at the back of my mind I always knew the aim set by the club to qualify for the Champions League”.
What was the key to Inter’s 4 months of domination?
“The compactness and mentality of everyone”.
What happened from mid-December and onward?
“The decline was psychological. We have to ignore market rumours, more specifically I refer to the renewal of contracts with rumours about which players will be sold and who will stay. We have to remove ourselves from that environment because it just causes destabilisation. The media speculation is part of the “circus”, but we, to be part of Inter, have to learn to ignore them and maintain a strong and clear mind, but sometimes these things go a little overboard. It’s counterproductive to hear about all of these purchases to replace players that are already here and giving their all for the shirt. All of this is my opinion, but I allow myself to express my judgement on these subjects”.
If you look back on your season, do you have any regrets?
“The goals I conceded in Florence and Ferrara after the original 90 minutes. My self-esteem would be higher”.
With Spalletti, has their been a change in mentality compared to last few negative years?
“Yes and I think it is obvious”.
If we ask you about your (almost) six years in Milan, do you regret not having played in the Champions League?
“The history and influence of this club speaks for itself. They know what they must do and where they need to be every season”.
Can Icardi win the Capocannoniere?
“Individual records must be the last thing we all consider. Everyone needs to score when they can to reach our goal”.
What do you say to those who say your dressing room is divided?
“That it is compact and nothing has changed since December: the negatives come out because the results are no longer the same but the way we train has not changed. We are together”.