Stramaccioni: "Utmost respect for Vaslui"

BACAU ? After the first stop in Split, so it?s on to Romania as Inter take their next step on the road to the UEFA Europa League 2012/13 group stages. Andrea Stramaccioni and Fredy Guarin spoke about tomorrow?s play-off first leg from Bacau, the city where the Nerazzurri are staying ahead of their game against Vaslui. It was the coach who first took the floor. “I think Vaslui are probably the best-equipped team outside of the seeded sides. This team was put together to play the Champions League qualifying rounds. Their wide players have a lot of quality and are their biggest threat. I watched their two games against Fenerbahce and they deserved a bit more out of them. I think even last year they upset an Italian side by knocking out Lazio, and although they have changed a lot of players since then they are still very competitive, so we must approach the game with the utmost commitment and the utmost respect.”

The Nerazzurri coach explained that his side mustn?t fall victim to lapses in concentration as they did in the second leg against Hajduk Split at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza. “I don?t think defeats can help. What is true is that the difference between the first and second leg has shown us that you can never let your concentration drop at international level. With roughly the same side, Inter had two very different results. We?re putting this down to experience and we certainly don?t want to get things wrong again.”

The next topic was new Nerazzurri signing Antonio Cassano: “Cassano and Gargano are now Inter players and I’m sure that all the signings we’ve made so far will make a positive contribution to the team ? some are already doing that. Cassano isn’t in the squad for tomorrow’s game and at the moment all we’re thinking about is Vaslui.”

On Maicon’s inclusion in the squad: “Maicon is in great shape. He’s training very well indeed, he really is looking very good and he showed that during last Saturday’s friendly in Locarno. He’s an Inter player and I have an excellent relationship with him, so I don’t see why I shouldn’t be able to use his quality for the good of the team, at a time when his mind is focused and he cares a lot about these colours. There’s no prohibition on me using him. We’ll see what happens between now and 31 August.”

As the season gets under way with the first games, the coach looked back on the close season: “I think it’s been a strange summer for Inter. I think in our heads, and probably in the president’s head too, we had this idea of trying to build something new. It doesn’t take anything away from the amazing cycle the club has had in the last ten years, but it’s been a strange summer for us: ten players have left, six new ones have been brought in so far. That’s quite a change. Now we just have to concentrate on our work and let our football do the talking, show people that we’re on the right path. It will take a bit of time and we have to work for it.”

There is some disappointment at not having a full squad to choose from: “The only small regret I have, going into two such important games, is that I don’t have many players available. It’s a tough away fixture, both because of what the opposition have to offer and because the stadium where we’re playing is not an easy place to reach. We’ll get back at 4 am on Friday morning and on Saturday we’ll be leaving again for Pescara. This is definitely a competition where it’s better if you’re able to rotate players between Thursday evening and Sunday. That said, we’re going to honour both games ? tomorrow’s and our Serie A opener against Pescara on Sunday.”

Stramaccioni is pleased with Inter’s transfer dealings: “As for the transfer market, I’m happy with the players I can choose from and I’m counting on them. As things stand, considering also the injured players, I think the squad is almost complete. If Marco Branca and Piero Ausilio were to bring in another new face between now and the end of the transfer window it would be to further strengthen the group. But I’m focused on Vaslui and what we’ll be faced with tomorrow ? it will be much more difficult than the name of the team suggests.”

The coach couldn’t not spare a few words for Nerazzurri skipper Javier Zanetti and the latest astonishing milestone he is about to pass: “Zanetti’s 800 games? A minor achievement… I don’t think I’ve even seen 800 games since I’ve been born. It’s incredible. The captain ought to be cloned because I don’t think he’s human ? he’s a bionic man.”

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