Wednesday August 1 2012
Stramaccioni ready for Europe

Andrea Stramaccioni is looking forward to his Europa League debut in Hajduk Split-Inter on Thursday. “These are the responsibilities I wanted.”

The Coach was promoted from the Primavera youth team in March and was given the nod to continue his work past the caretaker stage.

“We've tried to prepare for this game in the best way possible. We have great respect for Hajduk, a team that has shown themselves to be steadily growing over these early matches,” said Stramaccioni in his Press conference.

“We've prepared for this match based on the current Hajduk team, which plays in a stadium that gives them a great home advantage thanks to the red-hot atmosphere.

“I know the team better as men and players. So things are very different now compared to my first match with Inter. When I was given the job in April I strongly wanted to have these responsibilities on 1 August.”

Kick-off is at 19.45 UK time this evening with the second leg of the Europa League preliminary round on August 9.

“I know Ivan Vukovic. When I was with Roma’s youth academy we considered him to be a very interesting youngster. I think he’s one of their most dangerous together with the two midfielders and the central defender, not to mention the goalkeeper.

“I've seen Hajduk grow over these four games. For them it’s an advantage to have already played four competitive matches.

“We're arriving at this match with less than a month’s work under our belts. And for an Italian team it’s never easy to play as early as 2 August, but we think we'll be able to do well just the same.”

Inter youngster Marko Livaja particularly caught the eye of the local journalists in Croatia, as he played for two years in Hajduk’s youth academy.

“Livaja is an interesting lad that I know well because I coached him in the Primavera team. But he needs to be left alone to continue his development and have time to become an important player,” noted Stramaccioni.

“The Europa League means a lot to us and we want to go far. But it would have been a mistake to get to 2 August in top condition when considering the entire season. This is why Hajduk could be sharper tomorrow, but we knew this and it's not an excuse.

“We'll have to make up for it with our character. The fact that Inter may be a bit behind in our conditioning in no way changes our goals. With the greatest of respect for Hajduk, we'll try to win this game.

“We're not here just to make up the numbers. We'll honour this competition with everything we have, because this is the European football we have at the moment.”