Inter captain Samir Handanovic believes that he still has what his takes to lead the Nerazzurri from between the sticks and that his critics underestimate and misunderstand.
Speaking to Italian broadcaster Sky Sport Italia ahead of tomorrow’s Champions League clash with Real Madrid, the Slovenian expressed confidence in both the team and in himself.
Handanovic has come in for some criticism in recent seasons, with the 37-year-old not having shown his most imperious form for the club since joining from Udinese in 2012 even as he led the club to a first Scudetto in over a decade as skipper.
Errors have been creeping into his game and the bad pass which resulted in Hellas Verona’s opener in the second Serie A match of the season was a stark illustration of this.
However, he remains a top goalkeeper and asks that fans be more measured and considerate in their criticism, with the captain still showing optimism and confidence ahead of tomorrow’s vital clash with Real Madrid.
“We are more aware and determined,” Handanovic said of the Nerazzurri’s approach to the Champions League. “The goal has always been to get past the group stage, but we have always lacked the extra thing to do it. However, this year it must not be missing.”
He went on, “We cannot say anything for certain, there are always pitfalls and if you are not at 100% you can lose points anywhere. We have to concentrate on tomorrow’s game, which will be tough. Real Madrid is coming, just look at their team. It will be difficult.”
“In certain match you have to play your game and not concede too much possession to the opponents,” the Slovenian said, “otherwise they will hurt you. We will not change how we play just because we’re facing Real Madrid. We are at 100%.”
On criticism of his form the Nerazzurri captain said, “It depends on who it comes from. There are many people who talk but do not know what it’s like to be a goalkeeper. I am quite self-critical, I want to know when I am wrong and when not. There is always a team context to consider, without placing the blame on one or two individuals.”