APPIANO GENTILE – As he addressed journalists during his press conference today, the day before Inter welcome Lazio to the Stadio Meazza, Andrea Stramaccioni was keen to emphasise the efforts and improvement made by his players.
"We have to go out there and give it everything we've got, just like we did against Napoli,
"Mateo's position in the future? In the Inter team of the future he'll play in a midfield three. At the moment he's the midfielder who offers us the most quality in the final third. He's finishing the season in great form. Defensive duties are not the strongest side of his game but he's putting a lot into it.
"It's so important for us to get a result tomorrow. We haven't taken our foot off the pedal and we're not going to. We're definitely not going into freefall."
The Nerazzurri coach is completely focused on finishing the season well, so when asked about the possibility of Leonardo returning to the club he replied: "I'm thinking about nothing but my team and these last three games. I'm not saying much about the transfer market because I want to concentrate on the pitch and we have to keep at it until until 19 May. There are three games left to play and we want to do well in them. Afterwards we can talk about next year."
Asked again to analyse Inter's season, the coach replied: "We know what happened this year, we're angry and sad but we've never looked for excuses or shied away. We've taken the flak and we're obviously angry that we weren't able to reach our objectives. When I hear that Lazio, for example, have struggled in Klose's absence – just one striker – I have to think about all the absences we've had to contend with. There'll be no shortage of motivation for the coach and the players tomorrow though, that's for sure. If I did see that someone wasn't motivated enough, he'd sit out.
"We want to win tomorrow and we'll use our anger to achieve that. We want to show people that our injury crisis hasn't drained our motivation. The lads will give it all they have. We're determined to beat Lazio."
APPIANO GENTILE - "Lazio have shown they're a solid Serie A team, They paid the price for their efforts in the Europa League and Klose's injury, but they're a a very good outfit." That was Andrea Stramaccioni's assessment of tomorrow's opponents Lazio when he met the media in today's press conference.
The coach went on to discuss the fitness of Antonio Cassano and Yuto Nagatomo. "Cassano is working really hard, we've organised a friendly amongst ourselves on Thursday with the kids from our youth teams so that he can get some match time in him. It will be useful for Nagatomo too. We want him to return without running any risks. They'll put in a lot of work today and tomorrow then on Thursday we'll see how they do on the pitch in this test match.
"Nagatomo's recovery? We have complete confidence in our medical staff. It's right that Inter should make the appropriate assessments before putting him back on the pitch, but the signs are good. An operation? You have to consider the wishes of the player as well – he has to agree to it. At the moment we keeping surgery as a last option. What we can do is arrange a friendly that simulates match conditions where Yuto can push himself a bit. If it goes well, he could play on Sunday. If it doesn't then we can't rule out an operation."
APPIANO GENTILE - "We’ll try until the very end to qualify for the Europa League," stressed Andrea Stramaccioni once again. "It’s normal to see that the two teams placed high in the standings that didn’t compete in European competition, Roma and Fiorentina, have also been functioning more smoothly. But we want to make it to the Europa League just the same. Then I’ve always said this, and I’m not just saying it now that we risk missing out: in not qualifying there could be a sort of positive side, even though things have gone badly. It could also weigh on the club. We already know that the Europa League can take a serious toll on you, but should Inter one day compete in it again we’d face it in a different way.
"I’m sure Inter will continue with the good things they started this year. I hear from the president every day and I know what he has in mind," the coach added.
Stramaccioni was then asked about Ricky Alvarez and Tommaso Rocchi: "I’ve never had any doubts about Alvarez. The most positive thing is that he’s playing consistently. Let’s not forget that he had undergone surgery that complicated his start to the season, and then he struggled to find consistency. But now he’s won over the San Siro, which is one of the positive notes of this end to the season. Rocchi? He’s recovered. Not 100 percent, of course, because he can’t be if he didn’t play on Sunday. But tomorrow evening he’ll be our centre forward. He’s improved, and he’s hungry to play a strong match."
Regarding an end-of-season assessment, the Nerazzurri coach explained that it would be done "when the dust settles. From the coach down to the last Inter employee, some things were done well and others not so well. We’ll have to take a look at ourselves to figure out what not to repeat. My players and I are still focused on the pitch until 19 May. We’ll take stock of things after Inter v Udinese, because there are still three games left to play. It’s not easy though. I mean, just look at what happened: you go and play well against
The coach was then asked to comment on Aurelio Andreazzoli’s proposal of time-outs in football: "It would become another sport and seriously change things. I’m not saying it’s not right, but it’s different. If I had the time to organise things or make an interruption when things are going badly, it would completely change the dynamics. I find the sport very attractive the way it is now. That’s the charm of football. The back pass rule changed a lot, for example. If something like the time-out were introduced it would drastically change the sport once again."