Saturday March 9 2013
Strama: 'Inter back on track'

Andrea Stramaccioni is confident Inter can put the Tottenham humiliation behind them against Bologna and insists Antonio Cassano is not overweight.

The Coach was under fire this week after a 3-0 Europa League defeat at White Hart Lane on Thursday evening, just days after Cassano was dropped for a locker-room bust-up.

“I hope that I won’t have to talk about our elimination from Europe next Thursday,” said Stramaccioni in his Press conference.

“Qualification is an uphill struggle and we will try, but there are huge regrets that we had to face Tottenham in their best period of form and when we were missing so many players.

“Inter are Inter and compete for every objective, but from the first day we’ve known the club’s real target was to get back into the Champions League.

“It is only normal there are going to be difficulties. This season has seen ups and downs, but until the injury crisis set in we were a point off the leaders. We’ve had numerous problems that affected our campaign, though we don’t want to use them as an alibi.

“We are building for the future here, both in the current side and on the transfer market. You can’t put everything up for debate at the first defeat.”

Strama rushed to defend Cassano, who some sections of the media claim is overweight, out of shape and already unmotivated.

“Cassano is not overweight. In his last tests, he was in line with our projections. I am satisfied that we exchanged him for Giampaolo Pazzini, as our needs at that moment were different. We had two centre-forwards already and it was a painful decision, but I’d make it again 100 times.”

The Nerazzurri welcome Bologna on Sunday evening, but have goalkeeper Samir Handanovic suspended.

“I have great faith in Juan Pablo Carrizo. We wanted him here so that he’d be ready to play in case Handanovic ever missed out. Alessandro Diamanti is one of the best free kick takers in Italy, so we must be wary.

“We are really missing Yuto Nagatomo, as he is a crucial player on a tactical level. We’ll try to have him back as soon as possible.”

Today is the 105th anniversary of Inter’s foundation, as the club was set up on March 9 1908.

“I am so very proud to be the Coach of Inter. It’s a dream come true and yesterday after the defeat to Spurs it was wonderful to see so many people stay close to all of us. The fans understood the situation and are by our side. This doubles our efforts.”

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