Sunday, March 24, 2019

Spalletti: Playing with no striker can boost Inter

SoccerNews in UEFA Europa League 13 Mar 2019

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Luciano Spalletti feels it could be an advantage for Inter to be without a recognised striker for their Europa League last-16 tie at home to Eintracht Frankfurt.

Spalletti’s side are without Lautaro Martinez due to suspension and Mauro Icardi is not in the squad, the latter having not played since being stripped of the captaincy.

A clutch of youth team players have been called up to bolster a thin squad but Spalletti denied having an eye on Sunday’s derby clash with AC Milan in Serie A.

Keita Balde Diao and Matteo Politano are among the options available to Spalletti in attack on Thursday, with Inter at home for the second leg after last week’s goalless draw in Frankfurt.

“Politano played as a striker last year for Sassuolo and did really well,” Spalletti told reporters.

“Not giving clear points of reference to the opposition can be an added advantage. Keita Balde is also comfortable in that position.

“Keita is doing well, while [Marcelo] Brozovic has been called up but will be on the bench. Borja Valero will play as normal. We hope that these few rest days have got [Ivan] Perisic back to his best.

“He’s an important player for us. He’s blessed with plenty of qualities, whether that be fitness, physicality or his ability to beat a man. His contribution is key, just like all the other players.

“Obviously, I won’t complain about who I have available. Complaining doesn’t help you qualify. We’ll have 11 players out on the pitch, which is all that is needed to win matches.

“As for the younger players, if they’re part of a club like ours then they must always be prepared. There may be an opportunity for some of them to show what they can do.” 

Inter’s game against Milan could have huge implications for the Champions League qualification chances of both sides.

“We must focus on tomorrow’s match before thinking about the derby,” Spalletti added. 

“We have the ability to win tomorrow and those that play must be motivated, being fully aware of the game’s importance.

“It’s a knockout tie and we must make the right decisions to ensure that we don’t pay a dear price. We must make the most of our experience in Europe so far.”

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