Sergio Zanetti: "Owed to understanding sacrifice"

MILAN – Sergio Zanetti spoke to Inter Channel after the 3-0 win against
Atalanta in the first leg of the final in the Juniores Beretti league: "We
can’t talk about a claim or anything else right now; there are still 90 minutes
to go. But we want to show the spirit that this group has and win by playing
football. My lads already showed in the first leg semi-final against Napoli
that the only way to win is through our play and sacrifice."

It was practically a perfect Saturday afternoon, after which the coach must
have little to criticise his players for. Zanetti stated: "Certainly this
week we’ll work on the mistakes that were made by individuals during the game,
but the important thing is that everyone learned that in order to become great
it’s not enough to simply be good; it also takes sacrifice. When we don’t have
the ball everyone is working hard and I’m happy for that. I’m proud too."

In the two league meetings against Atalanta, the Nerazzurri did well at
home (a 5-0 win), but struggled away (a 2-2 draw). It was for this reason that
the Inter coach felt the need to point something out: "We’ll go to
Zingonia to win and we’ll play with all our 1994-born players. If Atalanta
field their first team it won’t matter to us. We’ll go to win, because we want
to show that we’re the strongest team, at home and away."

Berretti: 3 Nerazzurri goals beat Atalanta

MILAN – With an entire group that was born in 1994, Sergio Zanetti’s Inter took on Atalanta today in the 1st leg of the final of the Juniores Berretti league. With managing director Ernesto Paolillo present, the team played a lovely match against a strong Atalanta team that was able to benefit from the presence of 8 Primavera players (all born in 1993, 6 of whom were starters), including Agazzi, Cais and Tantardini.

The first half of the match was a one-way affair and Inter took to the pitch splendidly, with balance in their defending and plenty of attacking verve. At the end of the first half Zanetti’s Inter were up 2-0 (on a brace from Belloni), and in the second half Benassi added the third.  The second leg will be played on 20 May at 11:00.

Inter: 1 Cincilla; 2 Bandini (Amoruso 63), 6 Guglielmotti, 5 Pasa, 3 M’Baye; 8 Benassi, 10 Gabbianelli (Bangoura 63), 8 Del Piero; 7 Belloni, 9 Terrani (Bocar 76), 11 Garritano.
Unused subs: 12 Dalle Vedove, 13 Marini, 15 Martinelli, 16 Ntow, 18 Bocar.
Coach: Zanetti.

Atalanta: 1 Zanotti; 2 Lallo, 5 D’Amico, 6 Sane, 3 Djibo; 7 Mologni (Tantardini 49), 8 Marcarini, 4 Verzellietti, 11 Nava (Colombo 63); 10 Agazzi; 9 Praprotnik (Cais 37).
Unused subs: 12 Buccafusco, 13 Audino, 15 Longoni, 16 Bani.
Coach: Bergomi.

Referee: Chiffi (Padova).
Booked: Lallo 20, Benassi 32, Djibo 61.

Zanetti: "There’s hope with Stramaccioni"

APPIANO GENTILE – The last game of the season, and with it the
last episode of "A tu per tu" on Inter Channel. Ahead of Lazio v
Inter, Javier Zanetti is the guest on the show presented by Roberto Scarpini.

It’s time to look back on
this season. Let’s start with records. Can we at least define this season as a record-breaking one for you personally?

"On a personal note,
yes, I’ve broken a lot of records this year. But sadly it’s been a very unusual
year for the team, with numerous problems, changes in coach and injuries. We’ve
never found consistency. At the end of the season, however, we’ve at least
found enough consistency in our results to still have a chance of getting into
the Champions League, seeing as we’re already in the Europa League."

What happened with Gian Piero
Gasperini and Claudio Ranieri, who always had the full backing of the players?

"We all showed desire when
things were going well, both the coaches and we the players, but unfortunately
we were inconsistent. With the first coach, Gasperini, his ideas for the team
in the opening few games didn’t match our expectations, we lost a lot of games
and that’s why the decision was taken to bring someone else in. Then Ranieri
came in, a coach with a lot of experience, and with him we were able to put a
little run together, but again we had a setback and we couldn’t get back up
again. It was like this until Stramaccioni took charge, he’s very young, in
fact he’s 3 years younger than me," smiled Zanetti. "He’s got a clear
vision for the club though and he’s allowed us to at least hope that we’re 90
minutes from making the Champions League qualifiers."

Would you say that
Stramaccioni has managed to rediscover that strength that was always there in the
players, the players who have won everything there is to win, but that perhaps
you’d lost confidence after a series of defeats?

"It could be the way you
read things, because you start you ask yourself questions when results aren’t
going your way. The squad perhaps lost confidence because we weren’t sure of
what we could achieve. This doesn’t mean we were lacking desire – we’ve always
had that – the squad has always been together, it’s just that we went through
so much, that those problems came about. We’ve rediscovered our confidence
because results help a great deal."

Did it not anger you when you
heard Rafa Benitez saying the players no longer wanted it?

"It irritated me because
I could see that it wasn’t the case. I’ve trained with my team-mates every day
for years and I remember that when he coached us the players gave their all,
because the aim was to bring success to Inter. Let’s not forget we won the
Super Cup and the Club World Cup while he was in charge. We would never have
won those titles had we not still been hungry for success. Before you can
comment on something you need to know the facts and the reasons why things
happen."

Last week Julio Cesar said he
couldn’t wait for the start of next season. 

"I agree with him. Now
we’ve got one game left and then we can look back over the last 8 years and
this is the first tough year we’ve had, having won everything over the last
seven. It might be that this moment was bound to come along sooner or later,
and it all happened to us in the space of one season. Now everyone has it in
their mind to go again, to change the way things are going, so that we can once again
challenge for the positions that we’ve been accustomed to over the last few
years."

So the sharp mind of a young
coach like Stramaccioni might be the best thing for Inter at a time like this?

"Yes, we like
Stramaccioni. We enjoy training with him, he gets us all involved in the
sessions, he’s got a good vision for the club and he’s very calm. All we’re
interested in doing is performing well for the club and getting back to winning
ways."

You play to win, so do you
like having a coach who tells you to go out and win by attacking?

Yes, because we’re a side
which is set up to attack, so it’s a case of striking a balance in every area
of the side, but the main aim is still to win all our games."

Tomorrow’s game will be a
case of waiting and hoping for both Inter and Lazio. How do you approach a game
like that?

"Sadly it’s not only up
to us but I think first of all we need to do our bit and then wait to see if we
can get third place, something which seemed impossible a month ago. We know
it’s going to be very tough but we’re used to the fact that in football
anything can happen. And why not, perhaps even this time…"

If Inter don’t get third
place, who deserves it most?

"I think Udinese because
they’re on a great run, it’s a very young side, with a bright coach. I think
it’s difficult to stay up near the top but Udinese have been the most
consistent."

What do you think when you
hear talk of betting?

"It’s sad these things
go on but I think everything is being done to get the credibility back into
football. Therefore we, as players, must the be first ones to set the example.
Football is such a great game, I hope everything gets resolved and that we can
all enjoy great football."

At the start of next season
you’ll no longer have Ivan Cordoba alongside you to lead the jogging. Who will
replace him? Esteban Cambiasso perhaps?

"There are a number of
players who could do it, but Ivan will always be Ivan, a great friend of mine,
he’s like a brother to me. We need to recognise everything he’s done for this
club and this shirt, it was great to see him smiling on Sunday, he deserved the
victory, the surprises and the affection of the fans. I think he’ll still be nearby,
ready to help out in another role." 

Stramaccioni: "Rebuilding beyond Lazio"

APPIANO GENTILE – Andrea Stramaccioni is ready for Inter’s last
game of this Serie A 2011/12 season, but before tomorrow’s clash with Lazio, the
Nerazzurri coach chose to look back at the crowds who flocked to Appiano
Gentile yesterday.

"I think it’s a important
time," he explained at the start of the pre-match press conference.
"Following the incredible show we saw in the derby, our supporters again made
themselves heard this week. But I’d now like to look beyond the Lazio game
because I see this time as the moment before a renaissance, through the desire
of Nerazzurri everywhere to make this club a major player again both in Italy
and in Europe."

The Inter fans’ renewed
enthusiasm comes on the back of Inter’s performance in the derby against AC
Milan, although the coach  pointed out: "I don’t set up my Inter team
to play in a way that’ll delight the fans, but rather to get us playing in the
way that best suits the players I’ve got available. If the fans enjoy our style
of play, then of course I’m very pleased, because I think the fans are starting
to look at what the players are giving for this shirt. The quality is a bonus,
what I heard the fans say was because they’re happy to see such a united,
close-knit squad."

And Stramaccioni highlighted
the fact that a bit of this quality will
be missing in Rome because Diego Forlan, Wesley Sneijder and Mauro Zarate will
not travel. "The Inter side that will play in the Stadio Olimpico will be
ready for war, with a little less flair, but still the same desire to get a result.
Wesley complained of pain yesterday, but he had to stop today because of a
problem to his right calf. He had a check with Doctor Combi and he’s gutted to
miss out on the game in Rome. Zarate is a tactical decision, Inter will play in
a different way and he does fit in with that. Forlan already had an ankle
problem. It will be a different game."

And when asked about who will
be in the starting line-up tomorrow, Stramaccioni smiled, "I’ll tell you
now, you’ve all got it wrong this time, but honestly I’ve not even told the
players yet. Is Longo ready? He’s 20, he plays for Inter, if he’s not ready he
might as well retire." 

Appiano: with the president ahead of Lazio

APPIANO GENTILE – With
president Massimo Moratti watching on, Inter trained for the final time this
morning ahead of the trip to Rome for tomorrow’s game with Lazio. Wesley
Sneijder complained of muscle pain during the session. Walter Samuel and Diego
Forlan did specific, individual training. Joel Obi did physiotherapy, while Luc
Castaignos, Cristian Chivu and Dejan Stankovic all did light training. Julio
Cesar was given the day off as he is suspended for tomorrow’s clash.