Andrea Stramaccioni promises “respect and effort” in the Europa League play-off with Vaslui, while hailing Javier Zanetti’s 800th Inter appearance and the new signings.
The Nerazzurri squeezed through the preliminary round 3-2 on aggregate against Hajduk Split despite having won the first leg 3-0 in Croatia.
The pressure is therefore on not to make the same mistakes in Thursday’s match with Romanians Vaslui, as victory over two legs will qualify them for the group phase of the tournament.
“I think Vaslui represent perhaps the toughest of the teams who weren’t seeded in the draw. They were built to play in the Champions League preliminary round,” warned Stramaccioni.
“They are particularly dangerous on the flanks and deserved more from their two games with Fenerbahce. Last season they eliminated Lazio in the group phase, so we will show the maximum respect and effort.
“There was certainly a difference in the approach Inter took between the first and second legs against Hajduk, which taught us that at this level we can never allow even the slightest drop in concentration levels. The line-ups were almost identical, but the results completely different. We don’t want to make another mistake.”
“I am sure they will soon be able to give their contribution to the side, just as the other new arrivals have done. Today Cassano is not part of the game and our heads are focused solely on the task at hand.”
Douglas Maicon had been left out of the UEFA squad for the other preliminary round, fuelling reports he was on the market, but could well play tomorrow.
“Maicon is in great shape, he is an Inter player and I have a good rapport with him, so why shouldn’t I use his qualities to help the team? We’ll see what happens from here to August 31.
“It is a strange summer for Inter and we all sense the creation of something new. We lost 10 players, have so far brought in six new ones, so now we’ve got to work and let the pitch do the talking. It will take some time,” added the Coach.
“This play-off is difficult, as we will return home at 4am on Friday morning and on Saturday travel to Pescara for Sunday’s game.”
It is a special encounter for captain Zanetti, who will mark his 800th official match in an Inter jersey.
“It’s remarkable. I don’t even think I’ve seen 800 games in my whole life! The captain ought to be cloned, because in my view he is not human. He’s bionic.”