Andrea Stramaccioni insists that Inter’s 3-1 win over Chievo showed that the Nerazzurri ‘are not dead and buried’.
The San Siro outfit had only registered one Serie A victory in seven attempts before Sunday’s clash, a run that had allowed city rivals AC Milan to leapfrog them into fourth place despite their own poor start to the season.
But goals from Antonio Cassano, Andrea Ranocchia and the returning Diego Milito ensured that Stramaccioni’s side moved back above the resurgent Rossoneri, and the 37-year-old believes the performance was a display of defiance.
“I think tonight showed that we’re not dead and buried, we let out the frustration that has been building recently, and we channelled that on the pitch,” he said.
“You saw Inter tonight. We’re a squad, we’re a team, we played like Inter.
“It’s hardly surprising that Milito, Cassano and (Rodrigo) Palacio up front give us incredible quality. They worked very hard, that’s what I’d asked of them and they did so. They each need to put in a shift because the group is the most important thing.”
Inter’s recent poor run of form had left some supporters questioning Stramaccioni’s decisions and suitability to lead the club forward, but he was keen to stress that he understands their concerns.
“I’ve got great respect for our supporters who are demanding and ambitious. We are too,” he said.
The match also saw the return of Dejan Stankovic to the Nerazzurri line-up after the Serbian had missed the previous nine months with an Achilles tendon injury.
“Deki is more than a player, he’s a legend, a warrior, one of the many great men in this squad,” Stramaccioni added.
Stankovic himself admitted that he considered retiring from football during his lengthy spell on the sidelines.
“It’s a hell to be outside the field for nine months and those who play know it. I’ve given up a lot, I went through two surgeries and I reinjured myself twice,” the 34-year-old said.
“There was a time that I wanted to give up everything but thanks to the support from my family, the president and the supporters I understood I couldn’t give up and that I had to come back.
“I didn’t think about my physical status at all today (Sunday), I was too emotional. I played 45 minutes with the primavera (reserve side) earlier and tonight I played 45 minutes, but the tempo wasn’t the highest. I want to help the team from now to the end.
“I’ve practiced with the team for four weeks and I’ve seen players who are fit and who know about the situation. We need everyone, not just me but the new players will prove their worth.”
Inter travel to the Artemio Franchi next Sunday to face Fiorentina, before hosting AC Milan the following week.