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Spalletti suggests that no striker could play into Inter’s hands

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Inter Milan boss Luciano Spalletti suggests that the absence of Mauro Icardi and Lautaro Martinez could play into their hands for Thursday’s Europa League match with Eintracht Frankfurt.

The Nerazzurri will have to make do without Argentine strike duo Icardi, who hasn’t featured for Inter since losing the captaincy last month, and Martinez, due to a suspension.

Therefore, Keita Balde Diao and Matteo Politano are expected to be called up to cover for the pair despite playing as a centre-forward not being their preferred position.

But, for Spalletti, this could provide an interesting outcome as Inter look to seal a spot in the Europa League quarter-finals on Thursday night after drawing 0-0 in the first leg in Germany.

“Politano played as a striker last year for Sassuolo and did really well. Not giving clear points of reference to the opposition can be an added advantage,” said Spalletti on the club website.

“Keita is doing well, while [Marcelo] Brozovic has been called up but will be on the bench. Borja Valero will play as normal.

“We hope that these few rest days have got [Ivan] Perisic back to his best. He’s an important player for us. He’s blessed with plenty of qualities, whether that be fitness, physicality or his ability to beat a man. His contribution is key, just like all the other players.

“Obviously, I won’t complain about who I have available. Complaining doesn’t help you qualify. We’ll have 11 players out on the pitch, which is all that is needed to win matches.”

Last weekend saw Inter end a three-game winless run by beating SPAL 2-0 in the Serie A and now Spalletti is calling for focus as the Italian club search for their first piece of silverware since 2011.

“We must focus on this game in front of us rather than the league,” added Spalletii.

“It’s a knockout tie, therefore, I expect something great, with that added bit extra on an individual level. The players are aware that this is a crucial moment.”

The Inter and Frankfurt match will take place at the San Siro with kick-off set for 9:00 (CET).