APPIANO GENTILE – During his press conference the day before Palermo v Inter, Andrea Stramaccioni took some time to analyse Inter's present and future: "Our focus remains to take Inter back up to the top positions where it belongs. This was my first season and we've turned a new page. Some things have gone well and other things haven't. It's up to the coach and the club to learn from that intelligently. I'm very proud to be here but so too are our players. Inter is all that matters."
Stramaccioni also spoke about his disappointment at having slipped off the pace for third place, "at having dropped points along the way because even with all the problems we've had we could have had a few more points – I think we're in credit. Now we're focused on doing well at Palermo but yes, I think our biggest regret is that we've had to do without important players, although you get that at any club. We've been forced to make lots of changes and a coach can give the best of himself when he's able to stick to the same system and playing philosophy. Unfortunately we haven't had that consistency. At the same time we've managed to take strength from our troubles and discover other qualities. Regardless of what some people say, Inter have laid important groundwork for the future and that now needs to be built on and completed. When we were at full strength we were able to cause problems for any team."
A reporter then mentioned what president Moratti said during the week about Inter being the only team able to beat Bayern Munich. Could the team Stramaccioni had at the start of the season have beaten the recently crowned German champions? He grinned: "In a one-off game, sure!"
During the course of his conference, the coach was also asked for a comment on Juventus, who look set to win the Scudetto: "They've been the best team, the most consistent. We can only congratulate them for the way they've played."
Getting back to Inter, Stramaccioni spoke about attacking duo Rocchi and Alvarez: "They're showing people what they're capable of. Tommaso is doing what he's always done, which is score goals. Alvarez has got a bit of confidence about him now that he perhaps wasn't able to show in games before. He's doing very well."
There were of course also some questions about the transfer market and Samir Handanovic in particular. The coach explained that "Samir is a player we were determined to sign. I think he was handed a tough task at the beginning because he had to fill the gloves of Julio Cesar but he's won everyone over both as a player and as a person. For me, Andrea Stramaccioni, he's a player we couldn't do without. I see him as a pillar of the Inter team of the future. At the moment, with the season not finished yet, you tend to see the best players with the highest value in the papers. Handanovic and Guarin are two who have proved their worth and I think it's normal they should get talked about but it's a pretty remote possibility that they will leave Inter. We want to keep hold of our players."
Finally, the coach commented on recent statements made by Marko Livaja regarding his move to Atalanta: "I know Marko very well, better than anyyone. I brought him through. He's got a strong personality and he's a lad that needs to be taken the right way and given a bit of love. He's barely 20 and at that age sometimes you can say a bit too much. He cares about Inter and his team-mates here and he knows how highly I rate him. I think that feeling is reciprocal."