Having already lost to Fenerbahçe SK, Iván Córdoba knows FC Internazionale Milano "must take the game to them" if they are to advance on Tuesday.
Defender Iván Córdoba knows FC Internazionale Milano must stop Fenerbahçe SK in their tracks in order to reach the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League with a match to spare on Tuesday.
Inter came unstuck on Matchday 1 when they lost 1-0 in Istanbul and, although he did not play in that game due to suspension, Córdoba insists the Nerazzurri have learned lessons from that unexpected defeat. "It's a match where we will have to conduct the rhythm," said the Colombian international. "Fenerbahçe play with great tempo, largely based on the playmaking skills of Alex, which means we have to take the game to them rather than the other way around.
"In Istanbul they got hold of the ball, passed it around and controlled possession," he continued. "So from the start on Tuesday we must be aggressive and take the game to them and do what it takes to win." Since that reverse on 19 September, inflicted by Deivid's solitary goal, the Italian champions have certainly found the winning formula. Three successive Group G victories have taken Inter top of the section by a point from Zico's side – meaning a win at San Siro, possibly even a draw, would guarantee qualification for the knockout rounds.
Inter's Serie A form is also impressive, even if Saturday's 2-1 home success against Atalanta BC was criticised for a lack of lustre from the league leaders. "It's been a tough spell for us because we have been debilitated by injuries," reasoned Inter's vice-captain. "If everyone was fit we'd be happier because we would have more fresh players to call upon, but we can't do anything about that. The international break hasn't helped either as whenever we have a pause in the schedule it disrupts our rhythm. When we play every three days we get into our stride. So you will certainly see a brighter display against Fenerbahçe."
If anyone should know how Inter tick, it is the 31-year-old Córdoba, veteran of 75 European club games in black and blue since his arrival in January 2000. "In the Champions League, teams tend to attack more than in Serie A," he said. "[On Matchday 4, PFC] CSKA Moskva gave it a real go, scored two early goals and had nothing to lose. It means you can't afford to make mistakes in the Champions League because if you do, before you know it, you're out. We're very determined. A win will draw a line under qualifying and that is a huge motivation for us."