IANS

Duel with Barcelona will show team’s true level: Inter Milan coach

Milan, Nov 5 (IANS) Inter Milan coach Luciano Spalletti on Monday said the second leg of the UEFA Champions League group stage duel with Barcelona will reveal if his squad can take on the best teams in the world.

The Italian coach also hinted that he may deploy injured midfielder Radja Nainggolan during Tuesday’s match, who was sidelined for two weeks due to a sprained ankle but took the field in the last minutes of Saturday’s 5-0 Serie A rout of Genoa, reports Efe.

“We’ve always said that we can play against any opponent. The fact that the team is doing well, in terms of performance and results, demonstrates that this is the chance to see if we really can compete against any side,” Spalletti said at a press conference.

Barcelona won the first leg match 2-0 on October 24, even without injured forward Lionel Messi, who travelled to Milan but whose participation is still in doubt.

“Barcelona represents the highest level of difficulty that there is,” Spalletti warned, adding “They have a team mentality that goes beyond just Messi.”

Regarding Nainggolan, the coach said: “We have to assess him thoroughly in today’s training session. He played ten minutes against Genoa, something which helped us in our assessment. He knows how to play as a defensive midfielder and can operate through the middle.”

Strategically, Spalletti said: “Tomorrow, we must do better in regaining possession, because they don’t like it when the opposition has the ball.”

“You have to move the ball in time, if not, they lock you in your area, and from there it’s tricky to get out. You have to have physical resistance to press, and then have the quality to develop the game and take advantage of the three or four chances that we’ll have,” he detailed.

Inter Milan is second in Champions League Group B with six points, three points behind group leader Barcelona.

–IANS
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