APPIANO GENTILE – On Sunday at 20:45 CET Inter take on Juventus as part of matchday 18 of Serie A. Ahead of the match at the Meazza, Alessandro Bastoni spoke with SkySport:
Inter vs. Juventus, what are your first thoughts when you think of this fixture?
It is always very exciting, I have played it three or four times, but the emotions are always the same, it is a big match, and it is an honour to play in it.
What have you learned from the two defeats last season?
Juventus have been winning for several years. Ours is a journey that began last year with the arrival of our new coach, and with how are continuing to grow we will try to put Juventus under pressure, even though it will not be easy.
Inter are ahead in the standings at the moment, will this gap be bridged?
We are following on our own path, we are playing a lot and we do not look at the standings, but we will play to try and stop them.
Are Juventus still favourites for the Scudetto?
They win many times; it is up to us and the other teams to stop them.
How does one stop Ronaldo? Is he the main threat posed by Juventus?
I do not know, it is something we must work on as a team, we are growing, we are a good group. Juventus have a large squad, it is not only Ronaldo, there are many strong players and we will try to stop them on Sunday.
In your last two outings against Sampdoria and Roma, there seemed to be some defensive weaknesses. Why do you think this is?
These are the kind of incidents that decide games and right now many incidents are going wrong. Having said that, we have been pushing higher up the pitch and we are more aggressive; therefore, it may happen that more goals are conceded, but our objective as a team is to concede as few as possible.
Talking about the club on a general level, can reports like these disturb the activities of the team?
No, we concentrate on the pitch and on playing, Inter is a massive club with many great leaders, so we only think about playing well. Our objective is to play well on the pitch, we are showing that we play because we enjoy football which is our passion and I think that this is a better message to put out.
After several years there is now a tightly balanced title race. Is this a great opportunity for you?
Both this year and last year have been strange championships, there are so many matches and so many commitments, we are taking this season match by match, trying to win them all.
How is life for you at the moment?
Everything has changed so quickly, up until a year and a half ago I was at Parma, then I joined a great club like Inter. After an initial period, I found some space, and as always I must thank the Coach who gave me confidence and who was not afraid to throw me into the mix.
How did you manage to win over Conte?
I have always been myself. I have always done what I have learned since I was a child. The coach saw these things in me, and I thank him once again.
What is special about him?
From my own personal experience, he was not afraid to throw me into the mix with great champions, even in important matches, I played in a European final and we finished within a point of Juventus, we did great things.
You have also played well for the National team. Are there any similarities between conte and Mancini?
Their styles of play are similar, we build in threes and we try to win the ball back immediately with high pressing. They are different as coaches, but I like them both.
If you were to predict your future, how many years would you stay at Inter?
I am very happy at Inter, it is a great club, you know where my loyalties lie. I feel good, we will see with time.