Coach's press conference ahead of Sparta clash: "We go into this on zero points, we need the win. We'll change a few players but still put out a strong, balanced side"
PRAGUE – Frank de Boer insists three points will be the name of the game when Inter take on Sparta Prague on Thursday regardless of the team he picks.
The Nerazzurri are in desperate need of Europa League points following defeat to Hapoel in their opening group match but with the Prague encounter coming in the midst of a tricky run of games the coach admitted that a certain amount of rotation was on the cards.
"We'll make a few changes because we need to look at our players' fitness. We left Santon behind, for example, because he's not used to playing three games in a row. We'll ring the changes tomorrow but still put out a strong, balanced side.
"Both teams go into the match on zero points and if we want to continue in this competition it's vital for us to win. We don't have all our players available and of course that's a shame but I'm not going to complain either because we've come here with some very good players."
The boss was then asked about the paucity of different goalscorers in the team Mauro Icardi and Ivan Perisic being the only two names on the scoresheet so far this term and when Marcelo Brozovic might be involved again. “Only having two scorers is not something that worries me because it's only a matter of time. I'm sure lots of other players will soon find the net. The Brozovic situation is very normal to me. He was punished, then he was forgiven and now he has to do his bit for the team. Will that happen in Rome? Possibly. We'll see.”
Sparta Prague are something of an unknown entity at the moment after Zdenek Scasny was relieved of his duties following defeat at the weekend and De Boer admitted that could create added difficulty. "You don't know what to expect in this situation. I guess they'll need time to adapt so it's hard for me to say how Sparta are going to play. That could be a bonus for our opponents but I have confidence in my players and I think they'll play well.”
Despite the hectic fixture list, the coach insists it's very much a case of one game at a time. "We want to win this competition and I know there are lots of league fixtures to play. When I pick the team I only ever think about the game at hand, not the one coming after that, in this case Roma".
As for his recent promotion of youth, with Miangue and Gnoukouri having seen game time at the weekend, the manager explained: "It doesn't make any difference to me how young a player if he's got the ability. If he's good enough, I have no problem picking him. That's something you can see at Inter because we have an excellent youth academy where they work really well with the youngsters, so there are lots of talented kids. What makes the difference is how well you train during the week, not your age.”
Finally, De Boer commented on his return the city and the team he faced at the turn of the millennium as a Barcelona player. “I'm coming back here 16 years later for another game. I remember the match being played in a fiery atmosphere, a great place to play football.”