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Stramaccioni buoyed by returning players

Andrea Stramaccioni believes he is close to fielding a full-strength team as his Inter Milan side prepare to host Pescara on Saturday.

Inter head into the fixture without a win in three Serie A games, while their visitors have recorded back-to-back victories over Catania and Seria A high-flyers Fiorentina.

Despite 10 places separating the two teams in the standings, Stramaccioni remains wary of the counter-attacking threat Pescara pose.

“I think and hope that we’re close to having some players back, ready to play and fully recovered,” he said.

“We will have (Gabriel) Mudingayi, (Philippe) Coutinho and (Joel) Obi tomorrow. Obviously none of them are ready to play a match from the first minute, but they’ve trained with the rest of the group this week and they’re back with the team.

“It’s very important to have them back fully recovered.”

“I think that after a period of settlement, Pescara’s coach (Cristiano) Bergodi found the right balance for the players he has at his disposal. He’s doing a great job there.

“Pescara are a very well organized team at the moment and can rely on very fast players in attack, and their coach has taught them how to become a threat. (Vladimir) Weiss and (Mervan) Celik supporting a central forward can be very dangerous for any team when they counter-attack.”

Inter have impressed at times this season, but appear to lack the consistency to mount a realistic title challenge, with league leaders Juventus nine points ahead Stramaccioni’s men.

The coach however is confident his Inter team has what it takes to compete for major honours over the second half of 2012/13.

“I’m convinced we are a great team that went through a difficult moment and not like other teams that just start the season well,” he said.

“That’s how I see things. I’m convinced that my Inter is a team that will be there fighting until the end and we just went through a difficult moment.”

Sat 12 January, 2013
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