Stramaccioni: "Always a joy to be here"

– There was a special fan in the crowd watching the Primavera’s
opening NextGen Series match at the Centro Sportivo Giacinto
Facchetti this afternoon: Andrea Stramaccioni.

During the break, the
Nerazzurri coach told Inter Channel what it felt like to see the Under-19s starting out again in the competition that he won last
term. "Coming back to this pitch always gives me great joy. I’m a
simple guy really and I feel a strong bond with the youth academy and the
lads who are here. I wanted to be here today at all costs."

Playing against top-level opponents and other cultures is "an
amazing, unique experience that pits you against different footballing schools. Inter are showing how much quality there is in the
Nerazzurri academy and also the quality of Daniele Bernazzani’s work."

Seeing players develop their skills as they switch between the first
team and the Primavera "is a sign that they have understood what
our project is all about and how closely these two teams are linked,"
Stramaccioni explained. "We have a very close-knit set-up at Inter and it’s
important for that the first team –
today represented by myself, Beppe Baresi and Massimiliano Catini
– show the Primavera that we’re right there with them."

What similarities does Stramaccioni see
between this Primavera side and the one he coached last year? "I think
Daniele [Bernazzani] is doing a fantastic job. His team are top of
the league, they look solid and play attacking football. There’s nothing of mine in there, the only connection is the affection
I feel towards them. They’ve also got off to a much better start than
I did: last year, in my first game against Tottenham, I
was losing 6-1 at half time…"

UEL, Stramaccioni: "Focus needed against Rubin"

Kazan are certainly the best-equipped side in our group," Andrea
Stramaccioni opined as he spoke to the press ahead of Inter’s UEFA Europa League Matchday 1
fixture against the Russian outfit tomorrow.

"Their coach, Berdyev, is an icon. Five of
their team are the same as those who played against Inter in 2009. I’ve
watched their games, including those against Inter, and they are set
out the same way. Inter are taking this match very seriously, we’re
ready and fully focused. We want to win every game and go all the way
in this competition."

Will there be any changes with Sunday’s Serie A encounter with
Siena in mind? "I’ll rest a few players because the fixture list doesn’t get any easier after Sunday. Afterwards we have Chievo then Fiorentina. If we need
to recharge anyone’s batteries we have to do it between Thursday and

Stramaccioni also explained Rodrigo Palacio’s
exclusion from the squad for tomorrow’s game. "Palacio is a bit of bad
news for us. It would be risky to field him tomorrow but we hope to have
him back for Sunday because he’s a key player for us. He’s feeling a
bit under the weather, so we decided to leave him out."

The coach
also took a sideways glance at the Primavera team, who begin their defence of the NextGen Series this afternoon: "It’s a competition that
looks to the future and provides academies with the opportunity to test their mettle against
others. It was an incredible experience for Inter’s lads last year.
There’s huge interest in this tournament. Good luck to the boys out
there today and try not to give away as many as I did in my first
game. That shouldn’t be too hard though – I conceded seven…" the coach

UEL, Stramaccioni: "We'll wait for you, Stankovic"

Andrea Stramaccioni gave his views on a variety of topics during his press conference before Inter v Rubin Kazan, including his new centre-back pairing of Andrea Ranocchia and Juan Jesus. In light of all their recent plaudits, the coach was asked how he thought they fared against Torino, in particular ‘surprise package’ Juan Jesus. "I
expected them to do a bit worse actually…" the coach
joked. "But no, seriously, Juan Jesus deserves all the praise and so
too does Ranocchia – he’s a player Inter and I can count on. Juan
performed superbly but let’s not place expectations on him that are
hard to live up to at this club. Juan and Andrea offer Inter a truly bright
future, in a position where it’s hard to find top

Reflecting on the Torino
game more in general, the coach observed that "It was the only game
where we played a bit differently, in all the other matches Inter played
in a similar way. But we were missing a few players in Turin and
some of them didn’t have 90 minutes in their legs. If Palacio had
been fit he would have been able to slot into the role that Alvarez
had. The important thing for me is that the players can adapt to different
situations during the match, to different positions, but not
a different playing philosophy. We tried to be in control the whole time against
Torino. I would have been worried if we’d seen long balls pumped forward for
Milito to nod on…"

Stramaccioni then addressed the Nerazzurri fans: "As far as I can
tell, I mean, for as long as i’ve been here, the Inter supporters have
always been close to us, even when we were in a difficult situation
like at the end of last season. In August they flocked to the stadium
in numbers and now we have the most season ticket holders in Italy.
‘Thank you’ is all we can say to the fans."

The coach was asked whether Dejan Stankovic still features in
Inter’s plans: "He’s having an operation because he’s part of
Inter’s plans. We’ll wait for him because he’s very important to us,
both Stankovic the man and Stankovic the footballer."

NextGen Series: Inter v Liverpool line-ups

MILAN – Here are the starting line-ups for Inter v Liverpool, the Nerazzurri’s opening group match in this year’s NextGen Series being played at the Centro Sportivo Giacinto Facchetti this afternoon (15:00 kick-off).

Inter (4-2-3-1): 1 Dalle Vedove; 2 Donkor, 4
Bianchetti, 5 Pasa, 3 Mbaye; 8 Benassi, 6 Duncan; 7 Belloni, 10
Acampora, 11 Garritano; 9 Forte.
Subs: 12 Smug, 13 Zaro, 14 Guglielmotti, 15 Olsen, 16 Gabbianelli, 17 Terrani, 18 Colombi.
: Daniele Bernazzani.

Liverpool (4-2-3-1): 1 Belford; 2 McLaughlin, 4 Sama, 5 Jones, 3 Smith; 6 Baio, 8 Roddian; 7 Ibe, 10 Adorjan, 11 Pelosi; 9 Sinclair.
: 12 Hgaton, 13 Fulton, 14 Smith, 15 Maguire, 16 Lussey, 17 Peterson, 18 Gainford.
: Borrel Rodolfo.

Referee: Dalla Palma.

UEL, Handanovic: "I feel no pressure"

APPIANO GENTILE – Samir Handanovic
was the player chosen to speak in this afternoon’s press
conference ahead of Inter v Rubin Kazan alongside Stramaccioni.

Like the coach, the Nerazzurri custodian was asked to comment on the fact
that Inter haven’t won at the Meazza yet this season: "Yes, that is
what’s happened so far but it’s too early to say that we perform
better on the road than we do at home. If we want to do well in the league
we must pick up points at home as well – especially at home."

So is it tougher at Inter than it was at Udinese? The Slovene
replied calmly: "I don’t feel any pressure being at Inter. I’m just

The keeper added: "We set out to win every game. We’ll have to be
very careful tomorrow or we risk running into problems. But we must always aim high, we are Inter."