Hernanes is back at the Olimpico tonight against Roma, but wants to beat them for Inter. “I don’t need 90 minutes to be decisive.”
It kicks off tonight at 19.45 GMT, click here for a match preview. However, the Brazilian is unlikely to start due to a muscular problem.
“It is something that started in the last games with Lazio. It was only right to stay out of Inter-Cagliari as a precautionary measure, as in the last two days I’ve been able to do everything with the squad,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“I don’t need 90 minutes to be decisive or make my contribution to the team.”
Hernanes is no stranger to Roma, having faced them many times in the Derby della Capitale, scoring four goals in nine encounters.
“I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect them to start out with 10 straight wins, especially after losing the Coppa Italia Final to Lazio in May. Then I realised it was a ‘response’ to that disappointment, but also down to a lot of quality.
“The way to face Roma is to play like them. Keep the tempo up, pressing them high up the field without the ball and be sure not to make mistakes coming out of your own half. Every mistake can be a counter-attack and a very costly one too.
“Is it still a derby for me? It can’t help but be a special opponent after three and a half years with such intensity. I have always had a peaceful rapport with Roma fans. They’d ask me for a picture and then say they were Romanisti!”
Of his four goals against Roma, three of them were penalties, but Inter are the only team without a spot-kick in Serie A this season.
“The most important goal I scored against Roma was also perhaps the greatest of my career. I combined with Senad Lulic, feinted a shot with my right foot and then took it on to my left for a shot into the top corner. If they give us a penalty, then I am ready to take it.”
Roma could well be affected by the ban on three sections of the stadium for repeated anti-Neapolitan chants.
“One of the greatest emotions in football is seeing and hearing a packed stadium. Roma will suffer, but I too like playing in an arena with so many fans against me,” concluded Hernanes.