Andrea Stramaccioni admits Inter will have to do without Rodrigo Palacio “for a long time,” but rules out self-pity ahead of the match with Atalanta.
The Argentine had scored their last five Serie A goals, but suffered a thigh strain in the 2-0 win at Sampdoria on Wednesday and will be out for at least a month.
“Unfortunately the muscular lesion means Palacio will be out for a long time. I can’t say how long, but there is a month and 10 days left to the end of the season, so it’s a heavy blow,” confessed the Coach in his Press conference.
“I read in some papers that the medical staff hoped to have him back soon. That is not the case. Without him we can have an Inter side with an attacking partnership or one striker.”
Stramaccioni is also without Diego Milito for six months, so tested the only alternatives Tommaso Rocchi – who hasn’t scored in 14 months – and Antonio Cassano together in training.
“Rocchi is a penalty box player, while Cassano has other characteristics. We can choose a system and will evaluate the situation. Rocchi always trained hard, arrived at Inter after a long injury lay-off and is slowly returning to full fitness.
“He will be ready when called upon and his experience will certainly be of use to us.”
It is also rumoured Inter will use Cassano as a ‘false 9’ in the Spanish style against Atalanta tomorrow evening.
“Facing Atalanta will not be easy, as they are feeling confident and we are coming off two very intense games against Juventus and Sampdoria. We must respect this appointment, but arrive with great hunger and anger. We want to get back to winning on home turf.”
The injury crisis could wreck the Nerazzurri’s hopes of qualifying for the Champions League or even the Europa League.
“This is going to be a key match against Atalanta,” continued Stramaccioni. “The lads are fired up and nobody here has lost faith.
“We need the support of our fans, who have certainly understood the situation we are in. There are some head-to-head games this weekend that could give us a hand in the table, if we win of course.
“Never give up when faced with bad luck. We have lost a striker, but the structure of the team is solid and we have what it takes to do well.
“In moments like this we have always given a strong response. Now we need to give a little bit more, because it is an emergency situation.”