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Stramaccioni wary of underdogs Cluj

Inter Milan coach Andrea Stramaccioni has promised to name a strong starting XI for the Europa League clash with Cluj.

Romanian club Cluj finished third in their Champions League group, beating Manchester United along the away, and Stramaccioni has cautioned against complacency going into the first leg of their round-of-32 tie at San Siro on Thursday.

“The danger is to underestimate them and not know them,” he told a press conference.

“They have eight starting players that were also starters in the Champions League group. I certainly do not underestimate them, we have prepared the match in every detail.

“Tomorrow I’ll put the best team on the field; the only exceptions are for physical conditions. We have to put the best team on the field to show that Inter are very interested in this competition.

“We never ignored any competition. We are in the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia, and tomorrow we will play an important match in Europe.

“Who would I like to find in the final? I’m not thinking about anything but tomorrow’s game. I have a great respect for Cluj, their coach is doing very well. For me, at the moment, there is only Inter-Cluj.”

Stramaccioni hopes defender Cristian Chivu can avoid the need for further surgery on a foot injury, and claimed midfielder Ricardo Alvarez still has an important part to play at the club.

“I’m crossing my fingers because we have already been unlucky with that this season. Cristian is an important player and I want to him to recover and get back to his best,” he said.

“Alvarez? I think his only problem is playing regularly. He has undeniable quality from a technical point of view, he always shows them during training.

“He is important for our project, he and (Fredy) Guarin are the only ones who can play in support of the two strikers.”

Wed 13 February, 2013
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