Friday January 11 2013
Strama believes in Inter strength

Andrea Stramaccioni is convinced that his Inter side will be able to battle for the top spots until the end of the season.

The Nerazzurri have picked up just one point from their last three games, but are still only four points away from second-placed Lazio.

“I don't think we had a positive start to the campaign, we struggled to gel due to so many changes in personnel,” he said on the eve of the Pescara tie.

“But from Week 5 onwards we laid the tactical foundations [a three-man defence] which brought us a run of good results both in Italy and in Europe.

“Then our results tailed off, but I strongly believe we are a good side who had a bad run, rather than an average team that had a good one.

“I think my Inter side will be in there fighting until the end of the season. Our results will ultimately determine that.”

Inter lost 3-0 in Udine a week ago, but the tactician is boosted by the fact that a host of injured players are on their way back.

“We're close to having lots of people available again – Gaby Mudingayi, Philippe Coutinho and Joel Obi are big players coming back.

“They are not ready to start tomorrow, but they are fit again.

“Diego Milito had a problem on the eve of the Udinese match, a slight problem with his knee, but it's nothing serious. He's fit now and he's available for selection tomorrow – he won't be 100 per cent but he's recovered.

“Walter Gargano is in the squad, but we'll give him a late fitness test tomorrow morning. It's shame his injury has happened at a time when we're a bit light in central midfield.

“Nagatomo is in the squad because he asked to be around the players, just like Milito came to Udine, and Cassano came to Parma. He loves this club and he wants to make his presence felt. He's not fit and he won't play, but I hope to have him back for Roma.

“The past week has been very constructive, we got a lot done and saw what the lads are made of. Tomorrow's match is an opportunity for us to strike the right chord and get back to winning ways.”

With the transfer market open, the Coach was asked about possible reinforcements and the future of frozen out Wesley Sneijder.

“We’re looking for a right-sided player and a central midfielder with different characteristics to what we have now. Otherwise they will be of no use.

“Sneijder? My estimation of Wes has remained unchanged and he played all of the time until he got injured. Inter, however, changed in the summer. It’s not easy to find players of his level, but whether he stays or goes, I hope this story reaches a conclusion.”

Inter have accepted an offer from Galatasaray for the Dutchman, but the player has yet to decide whether to move to Turkey.

Inter squad: 1 Handanovic, 27 Belec, 77 Di Gennaro;  4 Zanetti, 6 Silvestre, 26 Chivu, 31 Pereira, 42 Jonathan, 44 Bianchetti, 55 Nagatomo;  14 Guarin, 16 Mudingayi, 17 Mariga, 19 Cambiasso, 20 Obi, 21 Gargano, 24 Benassi, 41 Duncan;  7 Coutinho, 8 Palacio, 18 Rocchi, 22 Milito, 88 Livaja, 99 Cassano.

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