STANKOVIC: "PROUD TO BE AT INTER"

STANKOVIC: "PROUD TO BE AT INTER"

APPIANO GENTILE - Dejan Stankovic was interviewed by SkyItalia after this morning's training session at Angelo Moratti Sports Centre:

At this difficult time for Inter, how important is last night's 1-1 draw at the Olimpico?
"It hasn't been easy for us lately, but last night's draw in Rome is an excellent result for us. They were really motivated, the stadium was packed and the atmosphere was very heated, and we administered the match well. We played better in the first half than after the restart. If they had told me before the match that we would have drawn 1-1, perhaps I would have settled for it."

At Milan they say they wouldn't swap their season with yours, not even if Inter win the Tim Cup. What do you think about this?
"They're two different things. It's nice when you're fighting until the end, I said this before the start of this season. It's more fun. Everyone says this season has gone badly for Inter, but I don't agree. We'll start by winning the Tim Cup then start off next year with the same goals we had this season, and with a bit more determination. Then we will see what happens."

What are the main differences between this year's Inter and last season's team?
"There were many draws last year. This year we have drawn few matches but we have administered less well the important matches and the big clashes. We must put both years together and take the best from both."

How do you show your character if you are an important squad?
"Our squad is definitely important. Inter's squad is one of the five or six best in Europe. For me, you either have character or you don't. It always comes out, but there are times when you need it more. You need to have pride, and show it in the difficult and important moments."

A while ago you said Barcelona and Inter were playing the best football in Europe. Are you still sure of this?
"Yes, even though Inter have found it a bit hard-going in the last month. Things would have gone differently if we had believed until the end."

Adriano was decisive last year. He has done less well this year. What has changed?
"Adriano is a fantastic player. He can't be considered a phenomenon or an emperor one day then just a talent the next. He is a fantastic player and he has showed us all his talents. He has had a bit of a crisis this year, but every striker goes through these periods. We should also consider the fact that he has had a few extra injuries that have blocked his progress. Adriano is an important player in this Inter side."

Do you think Adriano will have a great World Cup?
"Yes, I'm convinced of this. Adriano is strong and he plays in a squad of world-class players."

Do you think many changes need to be made for next year, or does the team just need a few reinforcements?
"It's not up to me to talk about these things. If a few reinforcements are needed the president, the managers and the coach will decide what to do."

Are Cassano and Ronaldo decisive players?
"They have been decisive for every team they have played for. Cassano probably a bit less so because he hasn't played much in Madrid, but he has showed his talents here in Italy. But as I said before, the managers make these decisions."

They say Henry is very close to joining Real Madrid. There are also rumours that you could move to the Spanish capital. Is it just a rumour?
"When the league ends the journalists have fun with the transfer market. As far as I'm concerned, I'm fine at Inter. Maybe I will end my career here when I'm thirty-five. Over the last three years Henry has showed he is one of the best strikers in the world, so it's not surprising that many clubs are after him and that he has many offers."

But can a player who plays for Inter be tempted by other big clubs?
"I already play for a big club. The only problem, in inverted commas, is that Inter hasn't managed to win an important trophy, but it's at the same level as all the big clubs in the world. I don't see why I should change team. I came here to help the team improve. I want to try and win with Inter because like I said when I arrived in Milan two years ago, winning a Scudetto with Inter is worth five at any other team."

Is it dangerous to play the Champions League qualifying round in the World Cup year?
"Not really. The only problem is that pre-season training starts earlier, but twenty-five days holiday are enough to relax, recharge the legs and have the strength to play two important games."

Are Serbia&Montenegro big favourites to win the World Cup?
"We're a great squad and we have great pride. We have managed to give our best, we conceded only one goal in our ten qualifying matches, and we finished the group in first place. At the World Cup we were drawn in the so-called 'Group of Death' with Holland, Argentina and Ivory Coast. Just getting through the group stage will be a success for us."


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