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Captain Javier Zanetti has said that he and his FC Internazionale Milano team-mates will "give our best and qualify as soon as possible" as they prepare to meet Tottenham Hotspur FC in Group A.
The clubs are level on four points at the top of the section, with the European champions ahead by virtue of a better goal difference. After kicking off their title defence with a 2-2 draw against FC Twente, Inter beat SV Werder Bremen 4-0 at home, but Tottenham have kept pace thus far and Argentinian international Zanetti reckons Harry Redknapp's side will be tough opponents.
"Tottenham are a good team," said the 37-year-old. "They're good on the counterattack and dangerous from set pieces. Our group is very even; Bremen are a strong side too, and we have to stay vigilant because we also had a few problems against Twente. We have to give our best in every game."
Exactly how good Inter's best is has been a topic of intense discussion in Italy. Zanetti returned from a four-week absence on Sunday for his side's 1-0 win at Cagliari Calcio, but the cautious style of football they played did not impress some.
Zanetti, Inter's first signing under president Massimo Moratti back in 1995, made no apologies. "To be honest, we don't care about the critics," the versatile midfielder said. "It won't be easy for anybody at Cagliari, but we managed to get the three points so we achieved our goal. We have to improve, that's for sure, but what counts is that we won."
Benítez and his Inter predecessor José Mourinho both put results first when it came to their coaching ethos, but the shift from one boss to the other has not been seamless. After beating AS Roma to win the Italian Super Cup, the Nerazzurri lost to Club Atlético de Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup and made a shaky start in the league, though they are still third, two points adrift of surprise leaders S.S. Lazio.
"[Mourinho and Benítez] are different, but they also have something in common because they both want to win," Zanetti explained. "
We have to master Benítez's philosophy as soon as possible. We were used to a different kind of football but I think we have already made a few steps forward since the start of the season."
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