Cuadrado braced for Serie A title battle with Inter

By Sports Desk September 29, 2019

Juan Cuadrado expects Antonio Conte's fast-starting Inter to pose a genuine Serie A title threat to Juventus this season.

Inter overcame Alexis Sanchez's red card to beat Sampdoria 3-1 on Saturday and extend their winning start to six matches.

Juve earlier saw off SPAL 2-0 in Turin but remain two points adrift of the leaders ahead of next Sunday's crucial top-of-the-table clash at San Siro.

Colombia international Cuadrado has seen enough from the Nerazzurri to know his team will not be allowed to cruise to another Scudetto.

"Inter are a great team," Cuadrado told Sky Sport Italia.

"They have everything [required] to be up there. We have to keep fighting to stay ahead. It will be a great battle next Sunday and we hope to be at 100 per cent."

Cuadrado, 31, completed 90 minutes at right-back against SPAL, plugging a defensive gap following injuries to Danilo and Mattia De Sciglio.

Though naturally a winger, he will likely have to continue at the back until after the international break.

Cuadrado believes the recently retired Andrea Barzagli's return to the club in a technical coaching role can help hone the defensive side of his game.

"I've always played on the wing but I'm at the coach's disposal to give everything I can," the former Fiorentina and Chelsea man said.

"Even more so in this moment of emergency, I will try to give my best and do the defensive phase well.

"I've already talked with Barzagli about it. His experience will surely help."

Before the Inter match, Juve must negotiate a Champions League meeting versus Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday.

Maurizio Sarri's men squandered a two-goal lead in drawing 2-2 at Atletico Madrid in their Group D opener.

Related items

  • Lukaku wants Inter improvement after Europa League win Lukaku wants Inter improvement after Europa League win

    Romelu Lukaku is already looking forward after helping Inter reach the Europa League quarter-finals on Wednesday.

    Goals from Lukaku and Christian Eriksen saw Inter beat Getafe 2-0 in Gelsenkirchen to move into the last eight.

    Lukaku moved onto 30 goals in a season for the first time in his career and missed a glorious chance in the second half.

    The striker was quick to forget about squandering that opportunity as he looked ahead.

    "The miss? These things happen in football, but I'm already thinking about the next game," Lukaku told Sky Sport.

    "I want to win and continue to help the team. The work we're doing with the coach is really important.

    "The team is growing and we need to move ahead with the same mentality and desire to improve."

    Jorge Molina missed a 76th-minute penalty for Getafe as Inter moved into a clash against either Rangers or Bayer Leverkusen in the quarter-finals.

    Lukaku became the first Inter player to net 30 goals in a season since Samuel Eto'o in 2010-11 and the Belgian was happy to get on the scoresheet.

    "We knew it would be a difficult game, against an aggressive team," he said.

    "The defence did a really good job and we did well at the front. I'm happy with my goal, and Christian's too."

    Inter will face Rangers or Leverkusen in Dusseldorf on Monday.

  • Inter rewarded for getting Sanchez back on track - Conte Inter rewarded for getting Sanchez back on track - Conte

    Antonio Conte was delighted to welcome the imminent news of Alexis Sanchez's permanent transfer to Inter after helping the forward recover from "the worst moment of his career". 

    Inter are set to announce the deal for Sanchez from Manchester United on a three-year deal on Thursday, though the move was revealed prior to their Europa League clash with beat Getafe. 

    The Chile international endured a dismal 18-month spell at Old Trafford before leaving United on loan at the start of this season, recovering both form and fitness at San Siro. 

    Nerazzurri CEO Giuseppe Marotta confirmed the situation regarding Sanchez's future in a media interview prior to the Getafe match on Wednesday. 

    And speaking after a 2-0 win that sent Inter through to the last eight, the transfer had raised head coach Conte's spirits. 

    "I think the Sanchez transfer is a very good move by the club," Conte told Sky Italia. "Considering the conditions in which we managed to get Alexis, it was a really good transfer. 

    "The club deserve credit because he came at the worst moment of his career. He arrived after two difficult years when he was really struggling at United and then got injured with us. 

    "We took the time to get him back on track, so it is only right for Inter to enjoy it and reap the rewards of that effort." 

    Sanchez was a second-half substitute against Getafe in what had been set to be the final match of his loan stint. 

    Former United striker Romelu Lukaku opened the scoring before half-time, with Christian Eriksen clinching progress to the quarter-finals with a late second goal.

  • Solskjaer confirms Sanchez exit but stays quiet on Sancho pursuit Solskjaer confirms Sanchez exit but stays quiet on Sancho pursuit

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed Alexis Sanchez will join Inter on a permanent deal but would not be drawn on Manchester United's pursuit of Jadon Sancho. 

    Inter chief executive Giuseppe Marotta said on Wednesday that he expected to announce the signing of Sanchez, who has been on loan at San Siro this season, on a three-year contract on Thursday. 

    Speaking after United's 2-1 win over LASK in the last-16 second leg of the Europa League, Solskjaer wished Sanchez well in Italy, where he has begun to rediscover his form after a torrid time at Old Trafford. 

    "I can confirm that he's agreed and we've agreed," Solskjaer said. "Alexis enjoyed his time there. 

    "They've liked him, so of course that's a good move for him. Wish him all the best. He's a top player that we want to see play his best football. 

    "For whatever reason, we didn't see the best of Alexis, but he's a top professional and we just wish him all the best." 

    With Sanchez leaving, the number seven shirt will become vacant at United as they attempt to strike a deal to bring in Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund. 

    The England star is said to be keen on a move to the Premier League, but Dortmund have been holding out for a sizeable transfer fee, reportedly at least €110million. 

    United are believed to be unwilling to sanction such spending amid the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and are eager to reduce Dortmund's asking price, while hoping to pay some of the fee in installments or bonuses. 

    Solskjaer insisted there was no update in terms of United's pursuit of transfer targets, though. 

    "We're looking into all transfers differently," he said. "I'm not going to speak about individuals that are not our players, so no news, no updates. 

    "We'll update you if something happens."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.