Spalletti rallies troops ahead of Udinese encounter


Luciano Spalletti held his traditional pre-match press conference yesterday afternoon ahead of this evening’s crucial Serie A match at home to Udinese. The 59-year-old Tuscan was in a somewhat defiant mood having found himself under a lot of scrutiny since the Nerazzurri were eliminated from the UEFA Champions League following a 1-1 draw against PSV Eindhoven on Tuesday night. Here is what he had to say to the gathered journalists at the Suning Training Centre:

“After the match against PSV, it’s now fundamental that the team reacts in the right manner. This squad deserved the fans’ support because they demonstrated great disappointment after Tuesday’s game. At the same time, there is also a lot of desire to get back out on the pitch and start again straight away. We were eliminated from the Champions League, but only right at the end on goal difference.

“As a whole, I believe that the team did really well. After the draw, there were few who thought we could reach the last 16, but we were really close. Obviously, we are disappointed but we certainly can’t destroy what we’ve created over the past year and a half. There is a well-defined path that we must keep taking forwards. The squad understands what Inter means and, for this reason, I have no doubt that the team will get back on track.”

The former Roma boss continued: “Criticism? If done in the right way, then it can also be constructive. I would’ve felt under scrutiny even if we’d progressed in the Champions League. This is only normal when you’re at a great club like Inter.”

Spalletti was then asked about today’s opposition, whom he believes possess a lot of quality and must not be underestimated: “Our league has a lot of hidden difficulties and we’ll need to show determination. In our last few matches, one small detail has been enough to decide the result. We need to win to pick ourselves up straight away.”

The coach also spoke about some of his side’s individual stars such as Matteo Politano and Radja Nainggolan: “Politano? He has done well over the last few games. He’s shown that he’s a complete player who can attack, defend and provide assists for his teammates. If he continues like this then he’ll become a very important player. Nainggolan? He is still recovering. I have no squad limitations in the league so I have the chance to choose more players.”

Finally, Spalletti was quizzed upon the recent appointment of Giuseppe Marotta as the club’s new Chief Executive Officer Sport. Predictably, he was full of praise for the ex-Juventus director: “He is an important professional and obviously, he’ll give a great contribution. He has enormous experience, both inside and outside of the dressing room. There are already all of the conditions in place here at Inter to work with efficiency and quality. We can go even further with him.”

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