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Inter Milan Not Overawed By Barcelona Visit

Luciano Spalletti confirms Radja Nainggolan could play for Inter against Barcelona tomorrow, and assures “we can play against anyone”.

The Nerazzurri face the Catalans at San Siro tomorrow, and will all-but confirm their place in the Last 16 of the Champions League with a win.

“We’ve always said we can play against anyone, and that still holds true,” Spalletti said in his pre-match Press conference.

“The latest results reinforce that and this will be a good opportunity to see if we really can play on par with Barcelona, who represent the highest level of difficulty in football.

“In the first game we weren’t able to keep the ball after winning it back, which meant we couldn’t reverse the trend of the game.

“We’ll need to be better when we win it back, because they don’t like the opponent to have the ball and they immediately come to snatch it.

“So time and space will be limited, we’ll need to have quality and personality. In this game it’ll be hard to find big spaces to play in.

“We’ll need the quality to think about where we want to go, before seeing it with the eyes.”

Radja Nainggolan has been sidelined with an ankle injury and missed the first match, but he could return tomorrow.

“He has to be evaluated well. We’ll get a further answer in training, and he could even play a deeper midfield role, which is where he started out.

“When we switched his position with [Miralem] Pjanic at Roma there was pandemonium. There were some poison pens ready, but then a lot of sentences had to be deleted.

“He started off in a deeper role though, he’s not a trequartista who beats three men. He shows his quality with ‘bursts’, and it’s with desire and strength that he beats you.

“He stops you building play comfortably.”

Another player who missed the first match is Lionel Messi, but he’s in the Barcelona squad for tomorrow…

“As demonstrated by the Barcelona games without him, they still have the mentality to develop their game, which is what makes the difference,” Spalletti pointed out.

“Clearly Messi is the icing on the cake. His is the shirt that children who dream of being footballers ask for.

“The best players always touch the ball twice, but he touches it four times in the same timeframe. He doubles it.

“That said, it’s clear that the education behind him is what makes him the best player in the world.

“It’s a worry for anyone is Messi plays, but the attitude doesn’t change. We need to be better in our reading of the game, but we’re going to mark space, not men.

“Firstly you should take into account the position of your teammate, and only after that the opponent, though clearly when the opponent is Messi it’s different. He’s one of the best in the world.”