Spalletti backs Lautaro to thrive in Icardi’s absence


Luciano Spalletti spoke to the media ahead of Inter’s crucial UEFA Europa League round of 32 match against Rapid Vienna tomorrow night. Here is what he said to the journalists who gathered in Austria this evening: “Rapid are a team with character, they won in Moscow against Spartak on a pitch that I know very well. They made it out of a really difficult group. We congratulate them on this but at the same time we’re here to win.”

The 59-year-old tactician then addressed the ongoing situation with Mauro Icardi: “We have a crucial match ahead of us and it must receive all of our attention. It was a difficult and painful decision because we know his worth. However, we took it together with all of the club’s components involved. It was done exclusively for the good of Inter. There are some things concerning the player that had to be sorted. For now, all our focus is on this difficult match.

“Tomorrow, we’ll have a striker who’s equally as strong. He didn’t receive his nickname of El Toro by chance. We’ll need him right from the off tomorrow and from him, like all of the rest, we expect the same kind of contribution that has brought us here in this competition.”

Nerazzurri winger Matteo Politano also had his say alongside Spalletti at the pre-match press conference: “We’re calm. We’ve had three or four days to prepare for this match. We’re only focused on tomorrow, we know that it will be a difficult test but we’ve come here to play our own game and get the win.”

The former Sassuolo man has missed his side’s last two league games due to suspension, so he is looking forward to getting back on the pitch: “I hope to give a lot to the team. I’ve prepared well because I’ve had two weeks to train. It’s different when you’re playing every three days and you don’t have this opportunity, therefore, tomorrow I want to give 100 per cent.”

The 25-year-old concluded by discussing Inter’s objectives in the Europa League this season: “We have to think that we can reach the very end. We’re a strong side and it’s only normal to have important demands. Tomorrow, it’ll be a difficult match, therefore, we must tale it game by game and then see how far we can go.”

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