APPIANO GENTILE - Today was Luciano Spalletti’s last press conference of 2018, as he answered questions ahead of Inter vs. Empoli on Saturday.
Inevitably, there was considerable attention placed on the events from Inter vs. Napoli: “I wholeheartedly condemn the incidents from the other evening. The time has come to say enough is enough with racist and discriminatory chants and celebrating tragedies from the past. Enough of whistling a coach or a player for the entire 90 minutes. However, I want to highlight that the actions of the players out on the pitch was exemplary. In this sense, Inter’s constitution is clear: our club loves those who are different and also those who want to come and interact with our club and city. It’s also important not to penalise the vast majority of fans, those who come to the stadium to bring joy, love and emotion.
“Should the match have been stopped due to racist chants? It could be a solution, although now we need to do something different, starting on a different path. There are many incidents that still keep happening and not just with Koulibaly, to whom we are very sorry. San Siro behind closed doors? The disappointment of not being able to play in front of our own fans is great. However, if it can be used to fight this bigger battle then we gladly accept it. Different behaviour is needed and we want to enjoy these matches in a different context. Giving Asamoah the captain’s armband? Things aren't changed just by one gesture, they are changed by showing commitment on a daily basis."
Spalletti continued: “That said, I don't think that the final result was influenced by the events that took place. To say such a thing is wrong and unacceptable, even for us because there is the risk of sending a message that such behaviour can help a team win. Wednesday’s match was played at a high level deserved of both Inter and Napoli.”
As for Saturday’s game against Empoli: “I expect it to be a really tough game, played against a team that has important qualities. I know Iachini well and how he knows how to motivate his players. We must pay maximum attention because we need to win this match. The Tuscan club are one that work well and do so quietly, adopting an environment that promotes young players. This is demonstrated by their results over the last 25 years. I made my first steps in football there and I’m always glad to go back, it’s a place to which I’m very attached.”
To conclude, he also discussed his potential squad list: “We must recover our energy after the match against Napoli, therefore, it’s possible that I will change things a bit. I will assess things based on the condition of the players. Nainggolan? He’s back available.”