Inter Coach Luciano Spalletti doesn’t agree Harry Kane looks tired - “we’ve watched Tottenham’s games and we saw him working hard in every situation”.
The striker was top-scorer at the World Cup, but he has scored only twice in his last 10 games for club and country and many in England have stated that he looks fatigued.
“No, I don’t agree,” Spalletti insisted in his pre-match Press conference.
“We’ve watched Tottenham’s games and we saw him working hard in every situation. In terms of metres run he has the numbers you’d expect from a strong striker.
“Tottenham rely heavily on him because he’s someone who can drop short, but then often the move ends with a cross to him.
“He’s good at finding the players who run off him with his lay-offs.”
The build-up to the game has focused largely on Kane versus the Nerazzurri’s star striker, Mauro Icardi.
Do Inter need to get their captain more involved in the play?
“Let’s leave Mauro as he is, because in footballing terms he’s done well. He likes to attack the depth, and in the last game we had a lot of players in the final third.
“Often when a team sits deep like that it’s better to drop back to the midfield to try and create more space between their lines. That way you can find space in the hole.
“When everything is closed up like that you need to have that inspiration, as well as technique in the one-on-ones.
“That speed in the channels [that Icardi has] is hard to find in a player, we have someone who can do it but we haven’t put it into practice.
“In that moment we should have attacked with some ‘decoys’ on the far post, because Icardi is one of the best I’ve ever coached in those situations.
“So far the team hasn’t been able to express itself to its full potential, we need a few transitions that will allow us to keep him in a position on the pitch where we can take full advantage of his best qualities.
“If we can keep him close to the penalty box then it’s a different game for him.”
It has been suggested that the Beneamata will switch to a back-three, is that a more comfortable shape for this squad?
“Here too we need to go deeper,” Spalletti replied.
“We’ve always played with four, but sometimes in the build-up we’ve gone to three. Tottenham do that too in some points of the game, it helps to destabilise the opponent if they’ve found the right way to match up to your shape.
“When you’re in a four and there are two full-backs open, if the play then develops on the right then the left-back becomes the third centre-back.
“If you don’t do that you risk getting hit on the break, so you always need the third centre-back waiting for the counter-attack.
“We have to play our game, we’re at home and we need to keep the ball well. They have a lot of weapons in their armoury because they have technique and speed.
“In the last 15 minutes [against Parma] we dropped in terms of the quality of our play and I didn’t like that, but all we can do is go again tomorrow night.
“There’s not much I can do with just a few hours of training, there was a bit of training for those who didn’t play and we did that yesterday.
“Today we just need to shake off the lethargy for those who didn’t play, clean up what happened yesterday and recreate that impulse to prepare for the game. Tomorrow evening I’ll have clearer ideas.”
One reason for the proposed shift to a back-three is the likely absence of Danilo D’Ambrosio.
“D’Ambrosio must be evaluated, we’ll see tomorrow but I think he’s still in pain, he got a big bruise on the muscle.
“He worked well yesterday but we don’t have much time and there’s a risk that he won’t be there.
“So clearly someone else will need to be willing to do something a bit different, but we have the squad to express the full potential of a club like Inter.
“One option is a full-back who pushes forward less in a four, or a three with midfielders who get wider.”
Marcelo Brozovic has been criticised for his early season form, but his Coach defended him.
“The only problem I can see with Brozovic is that he moves too much. he needs to stay in the area he needs to be in to direct the team.
“Sometimes he goes to make these runs between the full-back and the centre-back, then for two or three actions we can’t find him in the centre of the park, which is where he has to be.
“When he sees things aren’t going well he tries to do more and he loses his sense of lucidity. He’s at his best when he can maintain order.”