Shalke v Inter Preview Champions league quarter final 2nd leg
Leonardo has called up 22 Nerazzurri players for Schalke 04 v Inter, the return leg of the quarter-finals of the 2010-11 UEFA Champions League, to be played on Wednesday 13 April at the Veltins-Arena in Gelsenkirchen.
1 Julio Cesar, 12 Luca Castellazzi, 21 Paolo Orlandoni;
2 Ivan Cordoba, 4 Javier Zanetti, 6 Lucio, 13 Maicon, 15 Andrea Ranocchia, 23 Marco Materazzi, 25 Walter Samuel, 55 Yuto Nagatomo;
5 Dejan Stankovic, 8 Thiago Motta, 10 Wesley Sneijder, 14 Houssine Kharja, 17 MacDonald Mariga, 19 Esteban Cambiasso, 20 Joel Obi, 29 Philippe Coutinho;
9 Samuel Eto’o, 22 Diego Milito, 27 Goran Pandev.
My Predicted Line up
Leonardo was asked if he believes in miracles: “I don’t believe in miracles but in results that happen in sport, because what happened in the first leg was strange and now we have to come up with something special. We don’t only believe we can go through; we believe we can produce a fantastic performance. What’s important is that we get the balance right, even if we’re aiming for a big result. If you want a big result you need to turn in a big performance. It’s important that we have the whole squad available: Lucio is with us again, Chivu is suspended, but we’re almost at full strength.”
“I’ve been here twice before, in the old stadium, for the UEFA Cup,” said the Nerazzurri captain, “but tomorrow will be my first time in the new stadium. It’s a great stadium and we hope that it will also be a great evening for us tomorrow.”
Is the feat required tomorrow a possible or an impossible one? The skipper replied: “We’re aware of the fact that it will be difficult but we have 90 minutes to try and pull off an amazing result. Lots of things can happen in 90 minutes if you perform to the best of your ability. It’s crucial that we reduce our mistakes to the minimum and create lots of chances so we can score lots of goals. Would it be an injustice if we went out against Schalke? I have respect for Schalke; they proved in the first leg that they are an excellent side and if they’ve come this far it means they have certain qualities. Still, knowing that it will be tough, we want to put in a top performance to give us the best chance possible of qualifying. We are a very good team regardless of who plays. It happens sometimes that you mess up a game but that doesn’t take anything away from Inter’s worth. Tomorrow we still have a chance to go through and we want to give it our best shot, but don’t say that we didn’t respect them enough in the first leg; we never underestimated them. As I said, you mess up games sometimes but that takes nothing away from Inter’s worth and everything that Inter have won over the years.”
President Massimo Moratti answered the questions put to him by journalists outside the Saras offices yesterday
Here you can read the Inter president’s statements:
Inter have been described as a ‘crazy’ team before. Could that work to your advantage against Schalke on Wednesday?
“It’s about remaining fully focused and trying to pull off something that seems impossible, yet it’s precisely that impossibility that makes it such an intriguing match.”
After a long spell on the sidelines, Walter Samuel is now available again: could that give the team a psychological boost?
“I don’t think he’ll play or be in the squad but…”
He’s in the squad.
“Ah, good then. That way he can start getting involved with the group again. I doubt he’ll be able to play, though. Samuel is a sure-fire guarantee. We’ve all forgotten what might have happened this year if he had been playing. Maybe we would be sitting a little higher – he’s such an important figure.”
It’s a very particular moment for the whole team but perhaps even more so for Diego Milito…
“He’s looked good to me. In the two games he’s played, I thought he looked sharp and very fresh. That’s great and if he could give us a hand right now, he would be very handy indeed. But all the players seem really up for it. We know it’s going to be very difficult but, as I said, what makes this game so intriguing is precisely the fact that it seems impossible.”
Was Yuto Nagatomo Leonardo’s idea or had the club been tracking him since before Christmas?
“We’d been following him for a while. It was an opportunity: we did a swap that was good both for him and for Santon. For us, it meant bringing in a player with certain characteristics, and for the time being he seems to be doing very well.”
Do you think Inter have more chance of reaching the Champions League semi-finals or overtaking AC Milan in the league?
[He smiles] “We’re just taking it one day at a time and we’ll see where we end up.”