APPIANO GENTILE – "Chievo are on form as a team, they are fit and know how to play football and demonstrated it in Turin against Juventus. Granted, the Verona pitch isn’t a football pitch, the ball doesn’t bounce and their style changes there, so we’ll be taking on an aggressive side." Claudio Ranieri’s thought must be the same as that of everyone at Inter: tomorrow is the league and, leaving the Champions League and Olympique Marseille aside, during the pre-match press conference, the coach explained how only a win tomorrow would be a good confidence-builder for Tuesday’s European tie. "If we win it will be; we know we have seventy days to turn things around. We aren’t going through a good spell at the moment, we’ll just have to roll up our sleeves and get on with the job in order to do better.
"Now we are just concentrating on Chievo," continued Ranieri, "a team that is completely different from the French and I repeat that we have to be careful because if the pitch in San Siro is in perfect condition now, Chievo’s is a complete disaster. The first thing you have to stress when discussing tactics with the team is the playing surface and I’m doing just that with you now. My players are used to these things and can adjust, but I still have to decide whether I should rest some players."
Ranieri also voiced his opinion on whether the squad were already feeling the pressure from the big match they have ahead of them on 13 March as they are making preparations to take on Chievo Verona: "I hope not. I hope the lads are feeling the pressure and the determination needed for a match like tomorrow’s. We were two goals down against Catania and they showed they can react: we have to take this as a positive sign and continue in this manner. What these lads are going through at the moment isn’t easy: from being champions to being the butt of criticism like this. I have already said this is a marvellous group and the fact they were able to come back against Catania has boosted them and allowed them to continue – as well as training well – to have a renewed spirit and this is exactly what is called for."
Ranieri smiled and answered "well", when asked how he was and then said: "As the years go by, little by little you’ll learn to know me. I can’t pretend, what you see before you is what I am. Now I’m looking good, charged-up, determined and have my mind set. You just need that extra little pinch of determination to get things moving."
The Nerazzurri coach spoke about the future, but then joked "that for coaches in Italy it’s normal to be the centre of so much attention. Did Giovanni Trapattoni say that coaching Inter was like being in a spin-dryer? I don’t see myself like that, he should try Roma for a bit…"
The old guard, the young and not-so-young players, current matters and future plans and so on and so forth. There has been so much said and written about Inter recently. Ranieri smiled and said "this week all of these things came up, but as well as that there was a lot of speculation about the many coaches who will be coming here to Inter, so let’s just let them get on with talking about it."
Finally Claudio Ranieri spoke about Ricardo Alvarez ("it’s up to the doctor to tell me when he can play again. I think he’ll be ready for Marseille; he comes on now and again to train with the rest of the group. He has made great progress and I hope to have him back on Tuesday") and Esteban Cambiasso: "Knowing the lad I wasn’t surprised to see the images of him in tears after being taken off, because he really is attached to this shirt. He has given a lot to Inter and Inter has given a lot to him. He’s a sensitive lad and he came to talk to me afterwards. Will he play tomorrow? That’s a decision I’ll make between tonight and tomorrow morning."