Inter Milan coach Rafael Benitez said his team must show the same intensity and mentality as last season if they are to repeat their Champions League success.
Inter begin the defence of the title they won in Madrid in May with a trip to debutants FC Twente at the De Grolsch Veste stadium in Enschede on Tuesday.
And Benitez says the team must show humility and courage to ensure they don’t get unstuck here.
“To retain the Champions League we need to show the same intensity and mentality that we did in the previous edition,” said the Spaniard, a winner himself with Liverpool in 2005 but new to the Inter job this season.
“Every season is different, last season this team struggled in the group stages, we’re aware of that and that’s why we want to do well starting tomorrow night.
“To think that we’ve already qualified for the knock-out stages would be a huge mistake, we must show humility and courage.
“No-one gives out presents in the Champions League, you have to fight in every match, thinking about one game at a time.”
As for his system, Benitez suggested he will stick to the 4-2-3-1 formation favoured by his predecessor Jose Mourinho and repeated that he will need time to stamp his own ideas on the team.
“Every coach wants more time, it’s not possible to change everything but the team has the quality to change something while maintaining the same system,” he said.
The former Valencia boss said he is starting to see some improvements in his team but warned them against underestimating the enthusiasm that debutants can bring to their Champions League bow.
“After a month and a half of hard work you can start to see some progress, improvements, but I want to see more,” he said.
“We’ve studied Twente, they play with intensity and we have to take them on with the right mentality because they will want to celebrate their first match in the Champions League.
“But the most important thing will be us, if we play well we can win the game.
“I don’t like to talk much about our opponents or to adapt too much to them, what’s important is oursevlves and what we do, and that doesn’t just go for tomorrow but for the future as well.”
Inter will be helped by having some inside knowledge from their Dutch playmaker Wesley Sneijder, who spent five years at Ajax before moving to Real Madrid in 2007.
“I know Twente well, they’re Dutch champions, they’ll be very motivated and will want to win in front of their fans,” said the 26-year-old, a front runner for the European Player of the Year this year.
“But we’ve come here to play our game and take home three points.
“I don’t believe Twente will be the whipping boys of the Champions League, they have a lot of desire to do well, they have a good team and they will certainly try to give us some problems.
“But we clearly want to show our quality to earn our first win of the group.”
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