Anorthosis Famagusta coach Temuri Ketsbaia admits his side “need the support of our fans more than ever” as they attempt to take on group favourites Inter tonight.
Ketsbaia’s Cypriot champions followed up a creditable draw at Werder Bremen with a victory against Panathinaikos in Nicosia last month, they face their biggest test against an Inter team who beat them 1-0 in Milan last time out.
The hosts’ task is not helped by the absence of key trio Savio, Traianos Dellas and captain Nikos Nikolaou who are all out through injury, leaving Ketsbaia to call for support from the stands.
“We’re calling on everybody to come and support us,” said the Georgian. “We have shown time and time again that we are a good side capable of competing at this level. We need the support of our fans more than ever, though – we need them to help us overcome our injury problems. It won’t be easy against Inter but none of our games till now have been easy. Playing in front of a stadium full of our supporters, it can be done.
“The injuries are a problem but the most serious problem is the fact we’re playing Inter,” said Ketsbaia. “You just have to accept that players get injured and hope those who come in do a good job.”
Ketsbaia’s Inter counterpart Jose Mourinho has absentees of his own, as Sulley Muntari and Cristian Chivu are sidelined, the latter after injuring his knee at Reggina on Saturday. Adriano is also unavailable as he serves an internal club suspension after arriving late for training.
Mourinho, though, is not taking tonight’s game for granted.
“Maybe others have come here thinking they could not lose,” he said. “But Anorthosis are a well-organised team, strong at the back, they work very hard and risk absolutely nothing. We have not come here to lose, though. We’re going for the win.
“Serie A is a long road but in the Champions League you cannot afford mistakes. If we lost, we would have to beat Panathinaikos and that’s never easy.”