Thursday November 30 2017
Strama: ‘Inter have Scudetto chance’

Andrea Stramaccioni sees a “great chance" for Inter to go top of Serie A, since Napoli and Juventus are playing each other on Friday.

The Nerazzurri are two points behind the Partenopei and two ahead of the champions, but one or both of those sides will drop points this weekend.

“I always follow Serie A and I’m happy for Inter,” the Sparta Prague Coach told Mondo Udinese.

“[Coach Luciano] Spalletti’s work is impressive, and they have a great chance on Sunday because of the direct clash between Napoli and Juve.

“I don’t think that match will be decisive in terms of points, but if Napoli were to dominate the game it could have a psychological impact.

“And again, Inter have a great opportunity, even if they have a tough opponent [Chievo].”

Stramaccioni moved to Sparta in the summer, but his side are already 18 points behind Czech league leaders Viktoria Plzen and four behind city rivals Slavia Prague.

“It’s a very difficult challenge for a foreigner, but I’m really proud to be the Coach of a club which has won so much, they have millions of fans and represent a whole people.

“For the past three seasons this club has been experiencing the most difficult thing for a big club, reconstructing a winning cycle.

“It’s happened to Juventus, Inter and Milan in Italy over the past 10 years and it’s always difficult.

“Currently we’re seven points off the Champions League places, but it’s also important to build a new block of players, the backbone which will represent the future of the club.

“That’s not easy when the best two or three players are sold every year.

“The President [Daniel Křetínský] wanted me for a specific reason: to rebuild and internationalise the team.

“We’ve changed a lot of players though, as well as the way of working they were used to and unfortunately it takes time.

“Now we find ourselves in the winter break with 28 important players, the result of multiple management regimes. Too many, really too many.

“From these 28 players we’ll have to choose the ones the Coach and the club believe in for the future.

“The president is a brilliant entrepreneur and a football connoisseur who has been leading the club for 12 years, with whom I have a daily and active meetings, he knows all of my opinions and I know his.

“Now it’s up to him to decide what he thinks is best for the future of the team. My job from the start was to understand a new reality and work had, taking unpopular decisions for the future of this team.

“The Czech league is different from ours, it’s very physical and less tactical. There are a lot of foreign players who have struggled to settle quickly, as often happens in Italy.”

Jonathan Biabiany is one of those foreign players, having arrived on loan from Inter.

There’s an obligation to buy if Sparta win the league, but it appears the Frenchman will be heading back to Italy…

“Jonathan is a player I know well from Italy, I tried to take him to Udinese but then he want back to Inter,” Stramaccioni explained.

“In the summer we managed to beat off competition from so many teams and he came here. Not being able to use him in Europe hurt us, but his initial contribution has been important.

“Without Europe his wage is a luxury for the club, but as Coach I’ll do everything for him to stay until the end of the season because he’s a great lad and a top player.”