Inter have got what it takes to beat Juventus and make it through to the Coppa Italia final, at least according to the Nerazzurri’s former striker Julio Cruz.
Antonio Conte’s side lost last week’s first leg 2-1 at San Siro, meaning they must score at least two goals tonight at the Allianz Stadium if they are to have any chance of making it into the final.
Christian Eriksen is expected to be the surprise inclusion in midfield, with the Dane set to replace the suspended Arturo Vidal.
“I’m optimistic they can do it,” Cruz explained in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport for Tuesday’s print edition.
“I’m sorry for how the first leg ended, they didn’t deserve a defeat.
“It will be tough, but Inter have everything to be able to win and go to the final.
“A trophy has been missing at Inter for too many years, the time has come to win one again.”
Cruz proceeded to discuss the prolific strike partnership of Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez, a partnership which has produced a total of 32 goals this season.
“Lukaku and Lautaro are a phenomenal partnership.
“I don’t know Lukaku personally, but I admire him so much.
“His impact in Italy has been incredible.
“He does everything very well.
“He and Lautaro work for each other and this makes the difference.
“I had no doubts about Lautaro.
“He needed time to settle into a new style of football which is much faster and more tactical than what he was used to.
“It has happened to many South Americans that they suffer in their first year in Europe, but then we imposed ourselves.”
Cruz was then asked whether he was surprised by the work that Conte had done during his 18 months in charge of Inter, and responded: “No, why should I be?
“I remember him as an opposition player and you could see that he had the leadership skills to be a coach.
“He has always left his mark wherever he has been and is a guarantee.”
Cruz spent six seasons with Inter, scoring 75 goals in 197 appearances in all competitions.
During his time at the club El Jardinero won four Serie A titles, along with three Supercoppa Italianas and two Coppa Italias.