Wednesday October 3 2012
Strama: 'Respect for Neftci'

Andrea Stramaccioni has urged a revamped Inter to show “respect for Neftci” in the Europa League and explained the change of tactics.

The Nerazzurri started Group H with a last-gasp 2-2 home draw against Rubin Kazan, so the pressure is on to get a result in Azerbaijan on Thursday.

“It is very important for us, because we were unable to win the first match. A victory tomorrow could see us go top,” said the Coach.

“I tried to study Neftci carefully, a team that so far has shown great solidity and four very dangerous forwards, especially for a side like ours. In the game against Partizan they were always threatening.”

Stramaccioni has rotated the squad ahead of this weekend’s Milan derby, leaving behind Diego Milito, Walter Samuel, Antonio Cassano and Javier Zanetti.

“It’s very simple, the players I left behind had taken part in five games over the last 10 days, so I wanted to provide a squad with the utmost sharpness and fitness. In order to do that, I have to make the most of the players at my disposal.

“However, I have immense respect for Neftci and they have an advantage over us, in that their first XI is well-drilled. I repeat, the players we left behind were not done so because we didn’t consider this match to be important, but rather due to fatigue.

“I also decided to rely on a team that has great motivation in a difficult away game for us. Will we use the three-man defence again? I am convinced that this is the ideal system to give these players the chance to express themselves.

“We tried to keep hold of Douglas Maicon until August 30 and obviously with him the four-man defence could’ve had a different degree of balance, but once he joined Manchester City then we had to make the most of the five centre-backs at our disposal.

“Tomorrow is going to be a difficult game, especially as among the Italian sides we have played more than anyone due to the preliminary rounds.

“This will be the first time we have truly tested out the strength in depth of our squad. We respect Neftci, but with the mentality of an Inter side that will step on to the field with heads held high looking for the victory.”

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