Inter head coach Luciano Spalletti says it is always a “displeasure” when players miss out on big matches.
The Serie A side are without Radja Nainggolan for Thursday’s Europa League trip to Eintracht Frankfurt due to a calf injury and it is unclear whether Mauro Icardi is available.
Icardi has not played for the club since being stripped of the captaincy last month, but Inter said on Wednesday a “cordial” meeting has been held with the player and his agent, Wanda Nara, who is also the Argentina attacker’s wife.
The striker is reportedly suffering from a knee injury but Inter have indicated medical tests failed to diagnose a specific problem.
And when asked about Nainggolan’s absence for the Eintracht game, Spalletti appeared to make a veiled comment about Icardi.
“The game is very important and obviously any player who misses it, it becomes a displeasure,” he told a news conference ahead of Thursday’s first leg.
“But what more devastates me is the absence of off-list players, to tell them that they cannot be there. This is the real thing that saddens.
“On the field then it is always Inter: but regardless of who is missing, the team will always have this name and will have to assert the principles of being a strong team.”
“Every player has their own identity. The most important thing is for each player to adapt to the Coach’s ideas without misrepresenting themselves. We know the qualities of Eintracht. They’re enjoying a great season but we’re ready.” #UEL #EintrachtInter pic.twitter.com/UwHCpBMtSs
— Inter (@Inter_en) March 6, 2019
Asked specifically about the Icardi situation, Spalletti added: “There are always things that do not go as you would like.
“When wearing the colours of Inter, and important teams in general, you need to know how to manage the pitfalls that emerge with the role.
“It’s down to us to show what is needed out on the pitch.”
Inter head to Frankfurt on the back of a 2-1 Serie A defeat to Cagliari that saw Spalletti’s side slip down to fourth in the table, behind city rivals AC Milan.
“We’re here to compete on the international stage, with the experience of past matches that can help us tomorrow,” Spalletti continued. “The difference will be made by our decision-making and our desire to fight.
“We know the strengths and weaknesses of Eintracht. It will depend a lot on our game management. We have what it takes to perform and also to show that bit extra to impress.
“Tomorrow, I expect a great test in terms of character and a response to what happened in Cagliari.”
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