MILAN – President Massimo Moratti answered questions from the waiting journalists after this evening's board meeting.
President, did you discuss the books?
"Yes, all rather boring stuff really as far as you press are concerned."
Are the Chinese partners now officially on board?
"There was nothing to officialise, there are just a few things to formalise, so it wasn't an important topic today."
Nothing about the stadium either?
"We talked about that, about how things stand at the moment, about yesterday's game, future plans, the youth academy - all in an informal manner because we have a board whose members have been a part of Inter for a long time, so naturally those are the topics."
Yes, we saw plenty of relaxed faces... so there's enthusiasm?
"Definitely. But it's more important that you have enthusiasm within the team. We're just here to help them."
Speaking of numbers, can we say that three is the perfect number in defence?
"Any number is good if the system works. The main thing is that it suits the players and the coach, that they inspire confidence in each other and, most importantly, that it's then carried out to good effect on the pitch. There isn't just one tactic and all the rest are worthless: it depends on the players you have and also the moment. Right now it's a good way of doing things."
Who is winning in the 'transfer-market derby' between Antonio Cassano and Giampaolo Pazzini at the moment?
"Well they've got three goals each so far so things are fine as they are. Cassano is giving us a lot, not only in football terms but also his relationship with the coach and the rest of the team – not that it should surprise anyone. If I say he's smart it's because quite honestly he's showing that he is. We're delighted. More than just as a player, as an individual he's very useful to us at the moment."
On the subject of €20 million players, which you can't buy at the moment, with these new backers joining the club might we see a return to a situation where things are perhaps not quite like the times of Vieri but a bit less difficult at least?
"I hope we don't go back to those times when we bought Vieri because everything we did back then was wrong, but yes there may be some improvement in that sense in the course of time. However, one thing is the financial aspect – being able to operate on the transfer market more easily – another is running the club efficiently. You can't have a club that doesn't care about the balance sheets just because it has financial clout. You can't do that so you have to be very careful at all times, making sure that you stick to UEFA's rules but also those for a well-run club."
Are you thinking of adding a reinforcement or two in January?
"Wasn't I saying the opposite [smiling]? Regardless of the means you have at your disposal, if you don't believe in what you have, it's hard to believe in what you don't have. I think what we have here is already worth a lot, but we have to keep increasing its value. Then we have a youth academy that has provided us and continues to provide us with quality players, so that's how we're working. That's how they build great teams in other countries, so I think we need to fall into line with that."
Which foreign club might you look to as an example?
"Every club has its own model. We believe what we have done with our academy is something that other clubs might look to as an example, because we've developed our academy to a point where it has given us success in terms of results but also, and more importantly, in terms of the quality players of all ages that we're bringing through. That's not something we want to imitate, because we're already doing it well. But it's important to make the most of these players with the first team and help everyone connected with the club to understand that they deserve a chance. There's not only one club that works that way - it's standard practice for English clubs. We're in a different setting here, what's gone on in the past means we have to do things more slowly. I understand all that. But that's the direction we need to be heading in. We're lucky in that we have a coach who is young himself and he knows about these things, he understands them, but you need the right opportunity and to be able to do it little by little."
Speaking of youngsters, does this head-to-head between Montella and Stramaccioni excite you?
"They are friends. Montella has more experience of course, because he's had two more years. I consider our coach to be a very intelligent man so I think he'll be able to make up for [that difference] with his intelligence. We'll see how it goes."
What about the debate between Marchionne and Della Valle, Juventus and Fiorentina?
"They've already played that game and they drew so..."
Are Fiorentina perhaps the worst team to play at the moment?
"I think they're the best team I've watched. They played a great match against Juve so there's no doubt that it's going to be a tough challenge for us, but you can't put off things like this until you're ready for them. If the match is now, we have to get on with it and do well. We're hardly nobodies ourselves."
Is it a good thing that you're playing the derby away from home?
"Because Milan are playing at home, you mean? Let's hope it brings the luck you're talking about."
Have you started preparing for the smoking ban that's going to be introduced at stadiums next year?
"When I go abroad they already have a ban and I don't even think about smoking at the stadium. If I'm not allowed to, I won't [smiling]."