Stramaccioni happy with young stars

Inter Milan coach Andrea Stramaccioni was happy to see a very youthful squad come away with a draw against Neftci in the Europa League on Thursday night.

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By ESPNSTAR.com staff

18-year-old striker Marko Livaja scored two goals to seemingly assure a win until Nicolás Canales' late goal in the 89th minute ensured the points were shared on the night. 

But the team, six of whom were under the age of 20, were impressive throughout and hold out hope of a bright future. Stramaccioni had led the Primavera side to victory in the Next Gen Series last season before being appointed as Claudio Ranieri's replacement and therefore is known to be on good terms with the club's crop of youngsters. 

He paid compliments to the performances of the players although he does not want any of them - and particularly Livaja - to become overconfident after the promising outing. 

"We did really well tonight [Thursday] and I have to compliment these very young lads, as it's a sign the club is working well towards the future," he told the post-match press conference.

"Marko Livaja has always been in our plans and he has quality, but is also very young, so must continue to work with humility." 

The game also saw the return of Antonio Cassano to the first-team fold with the Italy international having been suspended for the previous two games. 

"Antonio is in good shape and took part in every dangerous attacking move. It is important for us to have him back and now we look towards Sunday's game with Napoli."

And Stramaccioni insisted that Wesley Sneijder's decision to reveal that he would not be selected for the game on social networking website Twitter was not a cry for attention. The club have imposed a Twitter embargo following some unsavoury tweets by the Dutch international in the previous month. 

"He didn't disappoint me and it is nothing serious. There was a misunderstanding that we cleared up. 

"I had already told him he would not be called up, but out of respect for the other players he wasn't supposed to reveal that yet.

"Let's say it was a semi-mistake, but not that big a deal."

Inter finished second in Group H and could potentially face one of the dropouts from the Champions League group stages. 



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