Friday September 8 2017
Spalletti: ‘Ranocchia worthy of Inter’

Luciano Spalletti admits he lacks “a specialised centre-back” but insists Andrea Ranocchia and Danilo D’Ambrosio are “worthy of Inter”.

The Nerazzurri were looking to bring in another defender, but were turned down for Skhodran Mustafi and Eliaquim Mangala on transfer deadline day.

“It’s pointless to hide it, we’re lacking a specialised centre-back,” Spalletti confirmed to Gazzetta dello Sport.

“We didn’t want to buy to make up the numbers though, that’s not our policy. So I talked and worked with those who were already here.

“Listen, I can assure you that Ranocchia and D’Ambrosio are two centre-backs worthy of Inter. I don’t care about the past, I judge what I see on the pitch. Otherwise I’d throw everyone out straight away.

“We’re complete at the back, Miranda and [Milan] Škriniar are quick, though there are those who see them as slow. The Brazilian, in particular, I like because he can adapt to an opponent on the turn like few others.”

The Coach was then asked if his midfield was lacking a Radja Nainggolan character, as the Belgian did so well for him at Inter.

“What helps is interchangeability, everyone knows how to do it all. I want a lot of work going on behind [Mauro] Icardi.

“On the pitch you have to run, I don’t want a football of positions: I come to you, you come to me.

“You work as a block, as a team, like Napoli do. In that way our midfielders will become Nainggolan or [Arturo] Vidal. I have five great players for three positions.

“Borja [Valero] in the [Andrea] Pirlo role is ideal, the others can and should do a little bit of everything. I’m more fond of those who can accept a marginal role at certain points.

“For example, I like Joao Mario who has started the last matches on the bench. He’s shown the character of a leader, he can attack his midfield opponent. He can so well as a trequartista and he’ll play against SPAL.”

A number of players have left this summer, including Gary Medel and Gabigol, was it the right decision for them to leave?

“I told him, ‘Gary, for me you’re a trequartista’,” Spalletti said of the Chilean.

“He looked at me as if I was busting his balls… As a defensive midfielder though he leaves gaps in front of the defence, but if you’re in front of him he’ll bite until he feels bone.

“At the same time though I have to be honest with him, I couldn’t guarantee he’d be a protagonist and Gary has international quality.

“It’s not easy for me to keep him out, and it’s not easy for him to stay out.

“As for Gabigol, he has to play. Here he’d have spent another year on the fringes without being able to grow.

“I advised him to go and play, we’re curious to see how he can grow or if we were wrong in our judgement of him so far.

“In attack though I’m fine with [Antonio] Candreva, Icardi, [Ivan] Perisic and their top replacements.

“Icardi is a good lad, a great professional, a champion and generous with it. I want him to feel the utmost confidence, he’s strong just like Perisic.

“We spoke clearly with the Croatian, and the club did well to find the right arguments to keep him. He was told he wasn’t going anywhere and he stopped trying to test the club. It’s normal with big players.

“Ivan is an impressive athlete, he recovers the ball well and is someone who puts the team first.

“He loves running down the sideline, he was decisive there against Roma but if he can occasionally come even just five metres inside he can be devastating.

“In that area behind Icardi, where it’s good for the animal to hunt, where you can hurt your opponent.

“As for Candreva, he’s another one who has kilometres in him, he’s a certainty. However, he must increase the ferocity with which he crosses the ball into the area, where there’s that little animal [Icardi] who feels as comfortable in there as if he was on the couch in his house.”

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