No surrender! Spalletti issues Inter rallying cry ahead of Juve test

By Sports Desk December 06, 2018

Luciano Spalletti concedes bridging the gap to Serie A champions Juventus will be difficult but the Inter head coach sees Friday's Derby d'Italia as the perfect opportunity to start making inroads.

The Nerazzurri travel to the Allianz Stadium trailing the leaders by 11 points after 14 rounds of action, their title hopes seemingly in tatters well before the mid-way point of the season.

Following one victory from their opening four games of the campaign, Inter embarked on a seven-match winning streak, although that progress has been checked slightly by a recent 4-1 thrashing at Atalanta and a 2-2 draw with Roma last time out.

But speaking to the media on Thursday ahead of the trip to Turin, Spalletti preferred to see the clash as an ideal chance to make up three points on the seven-time defending champions.

"They'll lose if they only think about stopping us. We play to beat every team, but I believe it more now," said Spalletti, who also confirmed Dalbert and Radja Nainggolan remain unavailable for selection due to injury.

"The team are growing now and are becoming more and more complete in terms of attitude. We've had some good games recently.

"There's a big gap at the top and the bad news is that catching them will be difficult, but the good news is this is the first step towards that and it's in our hands.

"We still lack some focus during games, but we're a great team in terms of names and how we read games.

"We must think the teams we face aren't so strong and can't move us off track. On my part, there's no surrender to Juventus.

"Things come to an end when you stop trying and are no longer convinced by your qualities, not when you lose a game."

Spalletti also pointed to Juve's ability to repeatedly poach the best players from their direct rivals as a way to strengthen their position, as well as referring to the blockbuster €112million transfer that saw Cristiano Ronaldo arrive from Real Madrid in July.

"Juventus buy players who make a difference every year. Three years ago when I was at Roma, Juve swooped in for [Miralem] Pjanic, who was perhaps our best player, together with [Daniele] De Rossi," he added.

"Last year we had one of the best full-backs in the League in [Joao] Cancelo and they signed him, plus they took [Gonzalo] Higuain from Napoli.

"They're players who help you grow in an attacking sense. This year they've signed a champion in Cristiano Ronaldo, and you can't put the mentality he offers them into words."

Related items

  • Champions League last 16: Who could get who in Monday's draw? Champions League last 16: Who could get who in Monday's draw?

    Representatives of the remaining 16 teams in the Champions League will convene in Nyon for Monday's draw for the knockout stages.

    Some of the continent's heavyweights had little difficulty booking their place, with Porto, Bayern Munich and Barcelona topping their respective groups unbeaten.

    Juventus and holders Real Madrid also progressed as group winners, despite suffering shock defeats last week to Young Boys and CSKA Moscow, respectively.

    Those who emerged as leaders in the round-robin phase will – theoretically at least – expect slightly kinder draws.

    However, there are certainly a few jokers in the pack, with Atletico Madrid, Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester United all going through as runners-up.

    For most, the knockout phase is when the Champions League really starts to build the intrigue, but there are rules in place preventing clubs from facing other sides from the same nation or group in the last 16.

    So, who could each team end up playing? We take a look at the draw scenarios.



    Borussia Dortmund : Ajax, Liverpool, Lyon, Manchester United, Roma, Tottenham

    Atletico Madrid : Bayern, Juventus, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, Porto



    Barcelona : Liverpool, Schalke, Ajax, Lyon, Roma, Manchester United

    Tottenham : Dortmund, PSG, Porto, Bayern, Real Madrid, Juventus


    PSG : Atletico, Tottenham, Schalke, Ajax, Roma, Manchester United

    Liverpool : Dortmund, Barcelona, Porto, Bayern, Real Madrid, Juventus



    Porto : Atletico, Spurs, Liverpool, Ajax, Lyon, Roma, Manchester United

    Schalke : Barcelona, PSG, Manchester City, Real Madrid, Juventus


    Bayern : Atletico, Spurs, Liverpool, Lyon, Roma, Manchester United

    Ajax : Dortmund, Barcelona, PSG, Porto, Manchester City, Real Madrid, Juventus



    Manchester City : Atletico, Schalke, Ajax, Roma

    Lyon : Dortmund, Barcelona, Porto, Bayern, Real Madrid, Juventus


    Real Madrid : Spurs, Liverpool, Schalke, Ajax, Lyon, Manchester United

    Roma : Dortmund, Barcelona, PSG, Porto, Bayern, Manchester City



    Juventus : Atletico, Spurs, Liverpool, Schalke, Ajax, Lyon

    Manchester United : Dortmund, Barcelona, PSG, Porto, Bayern, Real Madrid


    When will the Champions League last-16 matches be played?

    One half of the draw will play the first leg matches on 12 or 13 February, with the other four games contested a week later.

    The return matches take place three weeks later, with the round completed on March 13.

  • Reggae Girlz captain: Looking forward to World Cup challenge, playing Brazil Reggae Girlz captain: Looking forward to World Cup challenge, playing Brazil

    Reggae Girlz captain Konya Plummer says she is looking forward most to playing against Brazil in the FIFA Women’s World Cup next year.

  • Lionel Messi is the best, says Amor Lionel Messi is the best, says Amor

    Lionel Messi is the "best" following his hat-trick in Barcelona's rout of Levante, according to director Guillermo Amor.

SportsMax Zone

Latest Tweets

Will the Guyana Jaguars win it all again this season?
Konya Plummer relishes Brazil encounter at 2019 World Cup.
Going to the world cup has special meaning to Reggae Girlz 'keeper
Follow SportsMax on Twitter
© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.