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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sampdoria v Inter Preview

Saturday 30th August 2008
Jose Mourinho has called the match at Sampdoria as "the biggest game" of his life as he prepares for his official debut.
The former Chelsea coach was appointed to replace Roberto Mancini during the summer and has a tough act to follow with his predecessor winning the Scudetto for three seasons in a row.
And the Serie A fixture list has given the Nerazzurri a tough start at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris where Samp only lost twice last season.
"We know that Sampdoria are a strong team and, last year, they finished just behind AC Milan," he said.
"We will be going to Genoa to win and do our own game, but if we were to only draw, it would not be a drama.
"The season is long and to win it, you need to in a lot of games, draw a few and lose little - very little."
Mourinho led Inter to the Italian Super Cup last weekend with a penalty shoot-out win over Roma and the Portuguese coach will be looking for the same kind of fighting spirit from his side for his Serie A debut.
"I hope everything is repeated tomorrow night against Sampdoria," he added.
"I hope it is a good game like last Sunday. It is only a game, but it is the most important game of my life because it is my next one."
Mourinho will be able to call on Italy defender Marco Materazzi while Ivan Cordoba is also fit again, but there is still a shortage of defenders which will see Esteban Cambiasso forced again to play an unfamiliar role at the back as he has done for much of pre-season.
Nelson Rivas and Nicolas Burdisso are both in the treatment room, as is Christian Chivu, news which will please Sampdoria striker Antonio Cassano, preparing for his second season at Blucerchiato.
Mourinho has picked out the former Roma and Real Madrid man out as the one to watch.
"He is a great player," admitted Mourinho. "I have been studying up on him and thought a lot about him during the week and respect him because he is strong."
Samp coach Walter Mazzarri will know he needs all of Cassano's qualities and the best from all of his players to stand any chance of making it a winning start to the season.
He said: "To get a result against Inter or any club of their size you need everything to go right.
"The players have got to exceed themselves and luck must go your way while their top players have got to have an off day."
Mazzarri can count on a strong support from the stands with the Marassi sold out days before this fixture, and the Samp coach knows it could make a difference.
"Fortunately, we are playing at the Marassi," he said.
"Playing in front of our own fans is like having a 12th man on the field. If we were playing up at the San Siro, we would have had an extra degree of difficulty, but at Marassi, we can really give that little bit more."
The rest of Serie A will be hoping the same as the season commences this weekend with Inter again favourites to successfully defend their crown.

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