Andrea Stramaccioni insists Antonio Cassano “will give his contribution” to Inter against Tottenham after his blazing row, but “we are in an emergency situation.”
Cassano was dropped for the 3-2 win at Catania on Sunday following a locker room bust-up, but is back in the squad for tomorrow’s game at White Hart Lane.
“Antonio is here in London, he was called up and he has trained. Tomorrow I am sure he will give his contribution to the team, whether it is from the start or during the match. There are no problems.”
Diego Milito, Walter Samuel, Joel Obi, Matias Silvestre, Yuto Nagatomo, Gaby Mudingayi and most likely also Fredy Guarin are injured.
With other players cup-tied, this leaves Rodrigo Palacio, Cassano and youth team player Matteo Colombi as the only available strikers.
“We cannot afford to risk those who are not in good shape physically, so we are in an emergency situation. We’ve got six players from the Primavera youth team with us,” warned Stramaccioni in his Press conference.
“We have started an important renewal project this year after an era in which Inter won everything there was to win. Now President Massimo Moratti is trying to construct another great era.
“This season we have a mixture of important players and youngsters who will be the future of Inter. Calculating the problems we have had, so far the project is going well and tomorrow’s game is important.”
Spurs are focused on Europa League success and represent the toughest test Inter have had so far in the tournament.
“I believe that Tottenham are not just strong physically, but also a side with great quality who play excellent football. You can see Andre Villas-Boas did good work on the existing solid foundations. He set the example for all the young Coaches in Europe. I admire him a great deal.
“Gareth Bale is becoming one of the most complete players in Europe, because he is proving always decisive as well as having great quality. That distinguishes a good player from a great champion.
“There is respect for Bale, just as for Aaron Lennon, Jermain Defoe and the other great Tottenham players. However, we too have champions and I am certain Spurs respect us. We have no fear.”
Bale famously tore through the Inter defence when these sides met in the Champions League in 2010, so has Stramaccioni studied any measures?
“I think it important to play in an attentive way, although we know that at this moment we haven’t got much room to make changes.
“In any case, the match is Tottenham-Inter and not Bale-Inter, that’s how I see it. We will look out for him as we will all their players.
“In order to get a good result, we will need a great performance, as Tottenham are perhaps the form team in the Premier League. That’s not an alibi, but we will hopefully be able to count on more motivation from our emergency situation.”
The lack of alternatives is pushing Stramaccioni towards a 4-3-3 system.
“Since losing Milito, we haven’t really been left with any centre-forwards,” continued the Coach.
“Tommaso Rocchi is cup-tied, Cassano and Palacio aren’t really centre-forwards. Now with Ricky Alvarez, Ezequiel Schelotto and the new midfielders we can work on the 4-3-3 we wanted to use at the start of the season.
“We’ll have to evaluate Guarin and Andrea Ranocchia tomorrow morning, but we cannot risk losing any more players to injury. Only those in shape will play.”