"Coutinho an extra string to our bow, Samuel a leader and a sure thing. We must do what's best for Duncan"

APPIANO GENTILE – Inter v Cagliari comes after a round of midweek international fixtures and reporters were keen to hear from Andrea Stramaccioni what shape the players were in after reporting back from international duty. "The two Argentines [Alvarez and Palacio] and the two Uruguayans [Gargano and Pereira] are the ones who had the most strenuous trips, but it's part of the game. They weren't in tip-top condition when they returned on Thursday but they've had a few days to recover now. I hope they don't feel the effects of the international games because we're short on numbers in midfield and we've lost Guarin. The good thing though is that we've managed to put ourselves in a good position in Europe and that allows us to organise the week in the best possible way. We're doing well fitness-wise: I've never seen Inter struggling in the last ten minutes, so things are going well."

The coach then went into detail about how some of the other players are faring, starting with Wesley Sneijder: "He's better but I decided not to include him in the squad.

"Coutinho's available again? He's an extra string to our bow. He offers us something different and that can only be a positive because it means we can mix things up and select different qualities in attack.

"Guarin would have eaten grass to be able to come back for tomorrow’s game but he hasn't completely shaken off his problem yet. Besides, not answering his international call-up also meant dealing with his injury in a certain way. He might make it back for Kazan, but we'll have to see what the doctor says.

"Samuel is the best defender we've got at Inter objectively speaking, and he leads the way at the back with his experience. He's a leader and a sure thing.

"Mariga is stepping up his recovery process because he's desperate to return. I know that if I need him he'll be ready.

"Duncan? Alfred is one of my biggest regrets. I've been able to give him much less playing time than I'd have liked considering how much I rate him. It's my fault alone. He's an important player but in January I'll weigh up whether it might be more beneficial to send him out on loan somewhere so that he can get games under his belt, as I did with Longo. I was really pleased for him that he received his first international call-up. We'll try to decide what the most intelligent course of action is between now and 1 January."

Speaking exclusively to Inter Channel after the press conference, Stramaccioni also said a few words about Ricky Alvarez: "He's doing fine, great." We're very proud he was called up to the Argentina squad. At this stage of the season I'm making other choices but we have great faith in him."

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