APPIANO GENTILE – Inter assistant coach Massimiliano Farris has spoken to Inter TV about the experience of his first pre-season with the Nerazzurri, as Simone Inzaghi’s side continue their preparations at the Suning Training Centre.
How is pre-season going?
“Very well. This first stage with the team was always going to be very important for us. A lot was written about Inzaghi’s approach even before we all met up, so I think the players really appreciated the effort both the coach and all the staff made to get to know the group. We’ve been working hard and that’s helped us to get to know the players as people. We already knew all about their physical and footballing capabilities, because these are the champions of Italy – it’s up to us to adapt to this new environment.”
You’ve been working with Simone Inzaghi for years, first at Lazio and now at Inter.
“I certainly owe Simone a great deal, same with Lazio. It was an intense few years and we achieved great results, probably quite unexpectedly – but that’s what’s led us to this point. I have great memories of Lazio and of the success we had, but it feels special for me to be here because it’s home.”
What’s the main thing you and the coach talk about?
“Everything, from match preparations to the mental and physical state of the players, tactics… All of the staff have known each other for many years. We prepare games together and it’s the group that plans the work during the week, as has been the case for pre-season.”
What memories do you have of your playing days?
“My earliest memory is of getting released by Inter when I was a kid! But jokes aside, my career began here in Milan in the youth set-up at Bariviera. I was lucky enough to play in Serie A with Torino and then I made plenty of appearances in Serie B and Serie C. After that I began coaching, a journey that has brought me here – undoubtedly the high point of my career.”
Full-backs have a crucial role to play in the 3-5-2 system. How much has that position changed in recent years?
“Yes, they play an important role. There’s definitely been a step forward on the athletic side of things, because initially there were two interpretations: one defensive and one offensive. In recent years, there’s been a move towards total coverage of the flank.”
What are your main requirements when it comes to the defence?
“Defenders need to have a lot of quality and they need to be focused for 96 minutes, which is how long matches last nowadays on average, as I’m always telling the lads. Strikers can switch off then pop up and score the winner, but defenders can be focused for 89 minutes then come unstock in the 90th. I always say that you have to demand and deliver that level of concentration in training, when preparing tactics. That’s the main thing we demand: concentration and determination.”
You’ve moved back to Milan after many years away. How has it changed?
“I’ve come home after 34 years. The city has changed a lot, for the better. I’m very happy because I started out on my journey here as a kid, went away and now have come back to the club I supported. When my dad took me to my first game, it was to watch Inter at San Siro, so to be here now with the rest of the coaching team is a source of real pride.”
What are your expectations from this season?
“We want to build on what has been done before, so if possible we want to continue to lead the way in Italy. It won’t be easy to retain the title in Italy, after Inter managed to end the dominance in Turin after so many years. If possible, we want to go that extra step in Europe too.”