Stramaccioni fires Juve warning shot
MILAN (AFP) –
Inter Milan coach Andrea Stramaccioni said Friday the Nerazzurri are hoping to do the double over Serie A leaders Juventus this weekend, with confidence high despite patchy form in recent months.
Stramaccioni pulled off a tactical masterstroke to win the first ‘Derby d’Italia’ of the season in early November when his side was firing on all cylinders.
A few months on, a less consistent Inter side, which also welcomed the late return of several south American stars from international duty, will travel to Turin hoping to make it two from two.
Stramaccioni recognises Juve’s dominance this season but with both sides needing to win to keep their respective ambitions afloat, he, and Juve counterpart Antonio Conte, expects a wide open game.
“Results show they’re the best team in the league this season. But we want to show what we’re about and this match is the perfect chance to do so,” the 37-year-old coach told inter.it.
“It will be an open game and could go either way. We’ll approach it like we did in the reverse fixture, perhaps with a slightly different system, but we’ll give it a good go.
“We’re going out to win the match and I’m sure we’ll put in a good performance. Some experts claim we have little chance of winning it so we’ll try and use this as extra motivation.”
Juve hold a nine-point lead over Napoli and are 11 points ahead of AC Milan, who travel to Chievo in the hope of boosting their bid to jump up to second and secure the last automatic qualifying spot for the Champions League.
Despite also facing Bayern Munich in Germany on Tuesday in the first leg of a Champions League quarter-final, Juve coach Antonio Conte says the champions are focused on the job currently at hand.
“Those who know me well are aware that the next game – in this case Saturday’s clash with Inter – is always the most important,” Conte told juventus.com.
“We’ve got a fixed target of reclaiming our Scudetto title and we can’t afford any slip ups in such matches.
“Inter have already shown that they’re capable of beating anyone in a one-off encounter.
“Both sides will be playing for the three points, a draw doesn’t suit either of us. It will be an open game.”
Stramaccioni, meanwhile, is hoping that the Inter players who were delayed in South America after World Cup qualifiers in midweek – in particular Colombian midfielder Fredy Guarin – are fired up and ready to play.
Guarin made the mistake of missing his flight but may not face sanctions from the club.
“In terms of Guarin, clearly it’s not ideal, but these things happen,” said the coach.
“A fine? That’s down to the club. From what I’ve heard from Fredy … what’s happened has happened, he missed his flight just like I could if I went somewhere.
“If the club thinks he’s shown neglect, then they’ll take an appropriate course of action, but that’s not the case, to my mind.”