Inter defender Alessandro Bastoni is eagerly anticipating tomorrow’s Champions League round of sixteen second leg away to Liverpool.
Speaking in a press conference, as reported by FCInterNews, the 22-year-old stressed that he feels excited rather than nervous ahead of the massive knockout clash.
Inter will face one of their most formidable challenges all season, if not the single most difficult, when they travel to Anfield to play against Liverpool.
The 2-0 loss in the first leg gives the Nerazzurri a mountain to climb if they wish to go through to the quarter-finals of the competition on aggregate.
However, the team can gain confidence from the quality of their performance in the first leg despite the result, and from their Scudetto win last season, while Bastoni was also a part of the Italian national team squad that won the Euros in the summer.
On what he’d change from the first leg, the defender said that “Obviously I would change the result because it doesn’t reflect what we saw on the pitch.”
“We played a great game and caused Liverpool problems,” he went on, “we all know their history. It won’t be easy to resume the tie at Anfield but we have looked over the match and the mistakes we made, we’re confident.”
On whether the Reds’ front three are the best attack he’s faced, Bastoni noted that “I’ve faced great players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema, Vinicius, top European players.”
“Salah, Mane, and Diogo Jota are very good, but beyond that, great team spirit will be needed,” he went on. “Many of us will get more experience in a match at the top European level, it will serve as a way for us to become more comfortable at this level.”
On the team’s preparations, he said that “It’s normal that you analyze the attack of the team you’re coming up against.”
“But Liverpool are strong in every area of the pitch,” he added, “so you have to play a great match as a team to limit their strengths. We’ll try to make life difficult for them as a team.”
On how his mindset has changed after becoming a father, Bastoni stated that “It’s a completely different feeling from those you get on a football pitch.”
“Of course, having a family that gives you peace and serenity makes everything easier including on the pitch,” he added. “It has certainly helped me a lot.”
On what he expects from playing at Anfield, Bastoni said that “It will be a wonderful feeling.”
“Already this summer I tasted an English stadium with the Wembley final which fortunately went well for us,” he added. “It will be useful for me and my teammates to grow and gain awareness at the top European level.”
On the 5-0 win over Salernitana on Friday, the defender stated that “It did not bring to an end any crisis because there was no crisis.”
“We’re a solid group, we have faith in each other,” he continued. “There are no bad apples and that’s what matters. That result testifies to the trust that exists between us.”
Back to tomorrow’s match, he stated that “We’ll have to be careful, they are very good players at the top level in Europe. But if you’re afraid of playing these games as a player then you should find a different job. I can’t wait for tomorrow evening.”
And of the settling-in process of January signing and former Atalanta teammate Robin Gosens, he said that “We had a good relationship in Bergamo, we’ve gone through a lot over the years.”
“He needs time to get back to the top level, but he’s aware that he’s come to a great club,” he added. “Robin is happy to be here and I hope to see him at his best as soon as possible.”