Inter boss Andrea Stramaccioni has underlined that his club will be taking the Europa League seriously this term.
The Nerazzurri will entertain Rubin Kazan tomorrow night and he’s adamant that he won’t snub the competition, like many Italian sides have in the past, to focus fully on Serie A.
“It’s a different competition from the rest, especially given the day of the week that matches are played which is not the greatest,” he stated.
“Saying that, we’ll take to the pitch with the aim of winning all the games and getting as far as possible. We’re favourites? That’s normal as we are the top seeds…”
Rubin will be a tough test – “they are our strongest opponents in the group” – but also because neither Inter nor Milan have managed to win a home game this term.
“There is no connection between our inability to win at the Meazza and the new pitch,” Stramaccioni continued.
“Maybe Inter have maintained their focus better away from home. And to think that last year we won all our home games... Hopefully we'll set the record straight tomorrow.”
The former youth team boss also used today’s conference to explain why he got so angry with claims that his side played like a ‘provincial’ one at the weekend, with an alleged defensive mentality, against Torino.
“I have nothing against the word provinciale. It's part of Italian culture and it's also part of our footballing culture. That's not the issue here.
“It was the insinuation, the slant given to our 2-0 victory over Torino – the fact that we took to the field with one striker less, with an extra man in midfield and four full-backs.
“But Inter pressed high up the pitch, had 62 per cent ball possession, I replaced an attacking midfielder with a striker and we scored shortly before the final whistle.
“The problem was the premeditation, it was a comment made before kick-off. It seemed like more than just a technical comment. I will always defend Inter from such observations.”
Two of the team’s star players at the weekend were the centre-back partnership of Andrea Ranocchia and Juan Jesus.
“For me, Ranocchia is a certainty for Italian football. He was born in 1988 and is a defender with a high profile for our national side,” he added.
“Juan Jesus also did well in his first important game for us, but he also did well against Vaslui in the qualifying round when we went down to 10-men.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's World Cup tipster competition - £10,000 to be won!