APPIANO GENTILE - We’re a day away from Inter’s clash at the Mapei Stadium against Sassuolo, kick-off 20:45 CEST on Saturday. The Nerazzurri coach Simone Inzaghi answered questions ahead of the match in a press conference at the Suning Training Centre.
What kind of game do you expect after this recent run of many matches in a short space of time?
"It won’t be a walk in the park. It’ll be our seventh game in 20 days, physical and mental fatigue will be a factor. Sassuolo are a good side with some top individuals. We’ll have to give a good account ourselves if we’re to come away with a positive result.”
Are you considering making rotations?
"Today is the first day that I’ve had the whole squad at my disposal. I’ll weigh things up, I’ll have a word with the lads and then tomorrow morning I’ll pick what I deem to be the best team for the game."
In the five games prior Kyiv on Tuesday, Inter didn’t keep a clean sheet. Is there something to you need to adjust or is it part of a calculated risk approach?
"Balance is a very important thing. You could see that we defended well in Ukraine. We didn’t express ourselves as much in attack but had we been more clinical we would’ve won the game, we had some great chances."
Can you reassure the fans about the club’s situation?
"We have a very good CEO who can answer these kinds of questions. What I can say is that the club has definitely been doing well in recent months: our first goal was to safeguard the club. Next year the numbers will look better, the club is doing an excellent job, the atmosphere is calm, the fans are with us, and there is confidence for the future."
You’ve scored many goals in Serie A but are yet to find the net in the Champions League. What do you put this down to?
“It’s just down to certain situations. We’ve got the best attack in Serie A by a distance, and sometimes you’re just not able to score in other competitions. We had many shots on target against Real Madrid, and against Shakhtar we had some gilt-edged chances.”
Hakan Calhanoglu started the season on fire, but he has since faded. Why is this?
“I’m really happy with how Hakan has been doing. He’s a top player, he’s got a lot to offer in many regards. I’ve got many other players who feature in the same role. Whoever was on the bench in Kyiv is no reflection on their performances against Atalanta, those on the bench played to my satisfaction last weekend, I was just experimenting. We’ve got so many midfielders, it’s just sometimes we make different choices.”
What are your thoughts on the criticism Samir Handanovic has received?
"There’s no issue with him, he’s our captain and one of the leaders of the dressing room. He’s a top goalkeeper and will continue to do great things for Inter in the years to come. As for Ionut Radu, we’ll consider him when the Coppa Italia comes around.”
Following the international break Inter might not have their South American players available. Is there a chance any of them will come back early?
"We’re focused on Sassuolo. We know that we’ll have issues to deal with when it comes to the Lazio game, but we’ll think about that in due course. I need to focus on preparing for tomorrow’s game."
What’s Alexis Sanchez best position?
"He can operate both as an attacking midfielder and up top, he’s got so much to offer. He’s been working hard for the last 20 days, in full flow in training and I’m really happy with how he’s been playing when he’s come on as a substitute.”
Is this team in need of a Marcelo Brozovic stand-in?
"Marcelo is vital to us in the role he plays. If need be we’ve got others who can fill in for him. I played Nicolo Barella there in Kyiv, but we’ve also got Stefano Sensi, Roberto Gagliardini, and Matias Vecino. It depends, we’ll take it game by game.”
It seemed that against Shakhtar the team had the previous times it had been knocked out of the Champions League on their minds. Would you agree with that?
"I really don’t think so. We looked at the Real Madrid game and how it played out. Things just didn’t go in our favour. It’s true that in Kyiv we weren’t the usual Inter, but we could’ve come away with the win, just as we could’ve beaten Real.”
Did you think Inter would be in the position they are at this point of the season? Have the team exceeded expectations?
"We’re in a good place, but there’s no doubt that we can improve. We’ve played great in the six league games. We dropped points against Sampdoria and Atalanta in games which we deserved to win. I’m happy with how we’re playing. If we’ve got anything to regret it’s the points we dropped in the Champions League, because we created so many goalscoring opportunities and we deserve to be higher in the group.”