APPIANO GENTILE – Yuto Nagatomo was this week's guest for the fifth episode of Season Review on Inter Channel.
The Japanese full-back looked back on his own year and what proved to be a slow start for him personally.
"I didn't play much in the first few games partly because I wasn't fully fit, but I kept training hard every day to try and earn my place in the team. The more I played, the more I grew in confidence – which is very important for me.
"I played well against Roma. I always stay really focused because you need to do that if you want to win. It's always tough when you have to defend one on one against players like Salah, Gervinho, Callejon or Cuadrado but it's my job to stop my opponents.
“Roberto Mancini has taught me loads. My game has improved no end under his guidance.
"Training is important. You have to work hard if you want to improve and I always try to give my all.”
After six years in Italy, Nagatomo has picked up the lingo and he says it helps to understand his opponents better.
“That's another area I've improved in and it's a big help tactically too. It's all part of your development as a player.”
Despite being widely considered as a fair player, Yuto was sent off twice last season.
“I don't think I touched my opponent against Torino but you can't change the referee's decision. I was really upset but you can't do anything about it when it happens. That's football – there's no point protesting because it doesn't change anything; it can only worsen the situation.
"I try to stay calm even in the bad moments as that's what my parents taught me.”
On 8 April came confirmation of Nagatomo's new contract – something both parties strongly wanted.
“I'm delighted with my renewal. I was excited because I've always wanted to stay here. I like playing for this team. My team-mates and the staff always help me and the fans are always there for me too.”
As well as turning out regularly for Inter, the full-back was often away on international duty too, yet managed to come through the season with a clean bill of health.
"Zanetti taught me lots of things – about staying positive and how to be even more professional in the way I manage my body. I didn't have any injuries despite all the games so it was a good season for me."
Finally, on the Nerazzurri's targets for next season:
“We didn't finish in the top three and it's a pity. We worked well with the coach and the staff so it really is a shame.
“Next year we want to get into the Champions League. We're Inter so that has to be our target.”
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