APPIANO GENTILE - Rafael Benitez is not expecting an easy game against Palermo at the Stadio Renzo Barbera tomorrow afternoon. Speaking in the pre-match press conference at Inter's training base, the Spanish coach said: "We're a strong team and so are Palermo. Our opponents had a good season last year, they did well in Europe against Maribor and have two or three players who can make a difference. It will be a tough game."
Wesley Sneijder is among the players ruled out of Sunday's clash in Sicily, along with Jonathan Biabiany, Thiago Motta Joel Obi, Nelson Rivas, Obiora Nwankwo, Amantino Mancini and David Suazo, but Goran Pandev will travel south with the Nerazzurri after making a quick recovery from a knee injury.
"The striker has done one training session with his team-mates, while Sneijder played with a little pain in the last match against Twente," revealed Benitez. "He was still in pain today and it was better not to risk him. I think he will be fine next week."
So who will fill the Dutchman's shoes, and what formation will Inter use against the Rosanero? "We have several players available but what really makes the difference in a group is the intensity, quality and attitude of the team, not the system. Coutinho from the start? It's a possibility, we will see. Stankovic? He's doing better and he can play."
As for the progress of Davide Santon, Benitez said: "He's back from injury but he has only been in full training for ten days."
Inter have scored four goals and conceded three against Bologna, Udinese and Twente. For Benitez, there is ample room for improvement. "We must do better both in attack and defence and we must also improve the continuity of our play because we are not playing at the same level for ninety minutes. After the first twenty minutes the intensity drops a bit. But we are working on this aspect and we're doing better week after week."