Andre on Inter
Andre Villas-Boas knows tonight’s first leg against Inter Milan is all about setting up the Europa League, Round of 16 tie for the return in the San Siro - and with that in mind, he’s determined to keep a clean sheet at the Lane.
Andre admitted Samuel Umtiti’s bolt from the blue in the first leg of our Round of 32 tie against Lyon ‘put questions into the second leg’ and he doesn’t want a repeat against Inter.
We won that first leg 2-1 against Lyon but the French team were soon back in the tie by taking the lead in the return leg. Mousa Dembele’s last-minute goal at the Stade de Gerland secured a dramatic passage into the last 16.
“We don’t want to concede a goal,” said Andre. “We were unlucky to concede against Lyon at home but it was a goal that put questions into the second leg. We want avoid that happening, so we need to be consistent and try to be as good as we have been recently in attack to take an advantage into the second leg.
“Inter are very smart, very experienced and nothing will be decided in this first leg, for sure.
“They will be aware of our strengths and this isn’t a Premier League game, it’s completely different. We have to be aware of their strengths too and do our tasks properly.
“It can be a great game at the Lane, I’m sure the crowd will be unbelievable again, just like they were against Arsenal and hopefully we’ll get a good result to take into the second leg.”
The big games keep coming - from that thrilling last 32 tie against Lyon to the dramatic win at West Ham and Sunday’s huge derby win against Arsenal and now onto the two legs against Inter with a trip to Anfield sandwiched in-between on Sunday!
“It’s an important week for the club where we’ve played Arsenal, now Inter and then Liverpool,” added Andre.
“We want to continue to do well in this competition so our expectations are the same since we started, so even though a massive game like this is in midweek, we will treat it seriously, as we’ve always done. Our ambition is to try to progress in the competition and we probably face the biggest team involved in the last 16.
“Inter have tried to rebuild the squad that was European champions a couple of years ago. A couple of players have finished their careers, others have moved on and through this transitional period they invested in young players.
“They are a club in change but although change is happening, they still compete for titles. They are still in three competitions and the Europa League is a trophy that means a lot to them, just as it means a lot to us.
“It comes at a good time for us because it promotes the importance of the competition in England when you get fixtures like this and the players are all buzzing to be involved.”