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." 

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