SPLIT – Inter’s path in the Europa League begins here in Split. From the heart
of the Stadion Poljud coach Andrea Stramaccioni and captain Javier Zanetti
spoke about this first match.
The Nerazzurri coach opened the conference: "We’ve tried to prepare for
this game in the best way possible. We have great respect for Hajduk, a team
that has shown themselves to be steadily growing over these early
"We’ve prepared for this match based on the current Hajduk team, which
plays in a stadium that gives them a great home advantage thanks to the
energetic atmosphere," explained Stramaccioni.
Which of their players does the coach consider to be the most dangerous?
"I know Vukovic. When I was with Roma’s youth academy we considered him to
be a very interesting youngster. I think he’s one of their most dangerous
together with the two midfielders and the central defender, not to mention the
"I’ve seen Hajduk grow over these four games. For them it’s an advantage
to have already played four competitive matches," said Stramaccioni. He
then added: "We’re arriving at this match without even a month of work
under our belts. And for an Italian team it’s never easy to play as early as 2
August, but we still think we’ll be able to do well just the same."
The curiosity of the Croatian journalists was then directed toward Marko
Livaja, who played for two years in Hajduk’s youth academy: "Livaja is an
interesting lad that I know well because I coached him in the Primavera team.
But he needs to be left alone to continue his development and have time to
become an important player."
Five months have passed since Stramaccioni took the helm at Inter. What has
changed since the beginning of his adventure? "I know the team better as
men and players. Therefore with respect to my first Inter match everything is
now much different," replied the coach. Of course, his responsibilities
have also grown since then: "When I was given the job in April I strongly
wanted to have these responsibilities on 1 August."
The press conference then touched on the subject of preparation: "The
Europe League means a lot to us and we want to go far. But it would have been a
mistake to get to 2 August in top condition when considering the entire season.
This is why Hajduk could play more brilliantly tomorrow, but we knew this and
it’s not an excuse. We’ll have to make up for it with our character. The fact
that Inter may be a bit behind in our conditioning in no way changes our goals.
With the greatest of respect for Hajduk, we’ll try to win this game."
Stramaccioni was then asked whether he had any idea as to why Italian teams
have historically struggled in the Europa League: "To be completely honest
I couldn’t tell you why Italian teams have struggled in the Europa League.
We’re not here to simply participate. We’ll honour this competition with
everything we have, since today it’s our Europe."