Inter Legend Esteban Cambiasso: “Nerazzurri Laying Foundations For Champions League Progress Next Season”

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Esteban Cambiasso is confident Inter can build on their Serie A success by making progress in Europe next season.

Antonio Conte’s side went 11 points clear at the top of the table last night after beating Sassuolo 2-1 during their game in hand.

The Nerazzurri suffered a shock elimination from the UEFA Champions League before Christmas, finishing bottom of their group below Real Madrid, Borussia Monchengladbach and Shakhtar Donetsk.

But Cambiasso believes Inter were better off without European commitments this season, telling Sky Sport Italia last night: “I don’t think Inter would have been able to fight on both fronts straightaway.

“They’re becoming a dominant force in Italy first, and then only after that could they try and be competitive in Europe as well.

“It’s difficult to go straight from finishing second in Serie A and the UEFA Europa League to winning the Scudetto and reaching the Champions League quarter-finals.

“It’s a psychological matter as much as anything else.

“Inter would have had to give everything on a Sunday, having not won a major trophy for such a long time, and then give everything again on the Wednesday, because the Champions League requires you to give your all.

“If Inter win the league this season then their next step is probably to make this step and play on both fronts.

“They need to be able to play more comfortably in the league and then throw everything at the Champions League in midweek.

“The Champions League has shown us that if you aren’t 100% on it from your first match in the group stage, you’ll have trouble.”

Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez were both on target for Inter last night as they recorded a tenth straight win in Serie A.

The Nerazzurri have not enjoyed such form in the league since the 2006-07 season, when Roberto Mancini led them to the Scudetto during Italy’s first campaign post-Calciopoli.

Inter have also become the first team since AC Milan in 1990 to win their first 10 games during the so-called ‘girone di ritorno’ (the second half of the league season).