Luciano Spalletti spoke exclusively to Inter TV ahead of his side’s Coppa Italia clash against Benevento. The 59-year-old tactician warned that the Nerazzurri must avoid complacency in order to ensure they are not taken by surprise as some prestigious clubs have been in England and France during the past week. Here is what he had to say: “First of all, I’d like to wish all our fans and all sportsmen and women in Italy a happy new year.
“As we saw last year, games like this can be tricky, but the team have trained in the right way. Furthermore, we’ll be bringing what we learned last year into the match. Our mentality is stronger now, and we’ll be hoping to demonstrate this in matches like this in order to continue to grow.
“Benevento’s coach is experienced and sets his team up well. To reach this stage, they had to beat a Serie A team in the form of Udinese. They’ll look to play on the counter, so we’ll have to make sure that we pay attention to the spaces on the pitch. We have seen from other countries that surprises can happen in these competitions – take a look at England and France, for example. When knockout games are played, the gap between the sides can be cancelled out.
“What we do over winter has changed a little bit: the players have to follow personalised training regimes, doing exercises to keep in shape. Then we evaluate them when they’re back. Their attitude is professional and what we expect, which is why we’ve increased the intensity in training.
“The fact that this game is taking place behind closed doors means that it’ll seem more like the training matches we play at Appiano. A strong message had to be sent out, and it should lead to serious reflection.
“I’ve analysed the players in the same way I always do. Those who have done well will play, the selection I make won’t be based on who has played more and who has played fewer games. Our team means a lot to both Padelli and Ranocchia – they’re great professionals. On the face of it, the Coppa Italia is an objective we can achieve more easily due to there being fewer games, but stronger teams in our league will have to be played in the final stages of this competition.”
Meanwhile, according to the latest reports from La Gazzetta dello Sport, Suning are working hard to bring in a new shareholder to replace Erick Thohir, who still owns 31.05% of the club. Indeed, Sky Sport reporter Matteo Barzaghi has since confirmed that an investment fund from Hong Kong is the most likely candidate and negotiations are already at an advanced stage. Barring any last-minute hiccups, the deal should be confirmed within the next three weeks.
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