Zanetti key to my Inter stay, claims Stramaccioni

The Italian has paid tribute to his captain and assistant coach Ivan Cordoba for their support during a difficult season for the Nerazzurri
Inter coach Andrea Stramaccioni says he will have captain Javier Zanetti to thank if he remains at his post at the club.

The Nerazzurri have endured a difficult season, with a string of injuries and inconsistency affecting their pursuit of a European spot, but the young boss has paid tribute to his players and assistant Ivan Cordoba.

"I've made mistakes myself, but I'm fortunate to have a group of players who are also great men," he was quoted as saying by the club's official website.

"I'm fortunate to have Cordoba alongside me - the club and I got that one spot on. He's a real man with lots of experience and part of the credit for our united dressing room must go to him.

"Javier is another person I'm grateful to because he has always been incredibly supportive. He is the captain of Inter and he respects what the president says without contradicting him.

"If I am to remain the coach of Inter, as the president wants, I'll have Javier to thank too. He's key for us.

"He's my engine and I want to make sure he's with us for the start of pre-season training, whether he comes along with his leg in plaster, on crutches or whatever.

"Inter have been strong on the right in recent games. We've tried out various solutions to make up for his absence over the last few days, but you can't replace the captain. Javier is unique."

Inter have been blighted by catastrophic injury problems throughout the campaign, and were dealt yet another blow when it was confirmed that Ruben Botta, who is set to move to Guiseppe Meazza this summer, was ruled out for six months with knee ligament damage.

Stramaccioni confirmed the news was a blow but stressed they would not be tempted to pull out of the transfer.

"Yes, he's got injured and so has [Samuele] Longo. Two players we were planning to build the future with now need to go under the knife... That's going to frighten off anyone who wants to join Inter, isn't it?

"Let's just say that we haven't had much luck recently. [Botta is] a young lad who's had a nasty injury but if we've decided to go for him our assessment won't change now. He'll be an Inter player, we'll wait for him."