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Tottenham clash is a knockout match, says Inter boss Spalletti

SoccerNews in Serie A 27 Nov 2018

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Luciano Spalletti’s Inter will approach their Champions League Group B match against Tottenham as “a straight knockout”, with victory in North London required to secure their place in the last 16.

While Barcelona top the group, Inter are second on seven points, three clear of Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs side, who must beat the Nerazzurri to keep their hopes of qualification intact.

Inter failed to win either of their last two Champions League games, losing 2-0 at Camp Nou before being held to a 1-1 draw by Barcelona at San Siro.

Spurs have won all of their last five matches in all competitions and in his pre-match news conference Spalletti was in no mood to play down the scale of the task facing his side.

“From when the draw was made, we knew that we’d have to knock out one of the biggest European teams to make the next round,” Spalletti told reporters.

“Tottenham are a strong team with a great manager but we have the quality to take anyone on.

“Inter had been waiting for years to play in matches like this. The important thing is to show the fans that we’re ready to give anything to win. We need to work till the final drop of sweat to go through.

“Tottenham against Inter is one of those games that we need to aim to play in, it can show what we’re worth. We’ll be playing in an iconic venue of European football but we’re used to San Siro. You need to maintain these levels to play for Inter.

“The game tomorrow will be a straight knockout to ensure that things remain in our hands. To just approach it as an ordinary group stage game is a risk we can’t take. We want to keep going down this road.

“We’ll have to give all that we’ve got but we knew it would be like that. We must think that qualification depends on the result tomorrow night.”

Following their stalemate against Barcelona at home, Inter suffered their heaviest defeat of the season when they were beaten 4-1 at Atalanta before the international break.

They bounced back from that result by brushing Serie A strugglers Frosinone aside 3-0 on Saturday, and Spalletti warned his players they could not let Tottenham take the initiative at Wembley.

“The team’s attitude during the match will be important,” he said. “We need to show conviction in our own ability.

“To just let Tottenham dictate the play would create problems for anyone. I don’t like to see teams that wait in their own half for the opposition.

“We work every day to build our identity, to play our game anywhere and against anyone. We must never have a passive approach.”

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