APPIANO GENTILE – It’s now the eve of Inter vs. Barcelona, a crucial match which could result in the Nerazzurri qualifying for the last 16 of the Champions League. Kick-off is scheduled for 21:00 CET on Tuesday at San Siro. This is what Antonio Conte had to say when speaking to the press at the Suning Training Centre today: “This is an important moment for us: if we rewind the clock and go back to the day of the draw, there’s the realisation that we’ll be playing to qualify from a group that everybody described as difficult at home on the last matchday against Barcelona. It’ll be an important game, we know that we can progress with a positive result. It’d be important for everyone: for the environment, the players, for me too.
“Tomorrow, we should only think about ourselves and approaching the match in the right manner. Our objective is clear: to come off the pitch with no regrets having given everything, also considering the fact that it might not be enough against a team like Barcelona. We’re not thinking too much about Barcelona: they have a squad of 20-22 players, all of whom are very good. Their team is one of the best in the world, they aim to win all the competitions they’re involved in every year. They’ll come here with a sense of calm in the knowledge that they’ve already secured first place. It’s not necessarily an advantage for us: they could feel less pressure and play more freely.
“We need to show courage and enthusiasm: qualifying for the last 16 is a feat which would be prestigious for everyone. I’m sure that the whole stadium will help us by giving off positive energy. This is required so that we can overcome this great obstacle together. We need to do this united as one and go beyond the difficulties that we’re experiencing in terms of our squad. All the players have taken responsibility, they deserve the affection and support of all the Inter fans. Difficulties will shape us, they’ll bring out more from us: the important thing is to come off with our heads held high.”
Inter put in an excellent first-half performance in Barcelona: “Two months have passed, the team have grown in various aspects. As was the case back then, we’ll prepare for the match by trying to get the best out of our players and their characteristics. It’s impossible to think that Barcelona’s passing game won’t cause us any difficulties: we need to be compact, brave in closing them down and good on the ball in order to put them under pressure.”