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Sep, 13, 2010

Inter focused on securing back-to-back titles

No team has managed to secure back-to-back Champions League titles since the tournament began in 1992, but last year's winners Inter Milan are setting their sights high again according to their players.

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Inter have undergone a summer of upheaval that has seen coach Jose Mourinho replaced by Rafael Benitez and striker Mario Balotelli sold to Manchester City, with few additions into the squad. However, more than four decades since the club's two consecutive triumphs in the 1960s, the Inter players are keen to defend their title in this season's competition.

"You always need to be motivated and if you wear the Inter shirt, the motivation is high," defender Maicon told UEFA. "Every player would like to do what only a few teams have managed to achieve, to win everything. This is the most important motivation.

"We suffered for two years with Inter being eliminated in the last-16 both times. Last season finally we managed to win it and we deserved it as we beat teams who wanted this trophy so badly. Last year was our moment, and we've seen how difficult it is to defend this trophy."

But, having defeating AS Roma to win the Italian Super Cup, Benitez's arrival has provided the Nerazzurri with a proven coach who can build on Mourinho's success, according to Maicon.

''He is a great coach who likes to win trophies like the Champions League, as he already demonstrated with Liverpool and wherever he worked," the Brazilian said.

"He is a coach who has the right mentality for big clubs. He is someone who doesn't like losing. He is also very professional and talks a lot to the players. Let's hope we can have a season with him as we had last year," added goalkeeper Julio Cesar.

Inter's cross-city rivals AC Milan were the last team to defend the European Cup [in its old guise] in 1990 and star striker Diego Milito, whose double saw Bayern Munich beaten 2-0 in the 2010 final, has hopes that his club can match the Rossoneri's achievements.

"Let's hope so, maybe," he said. "We are working hard, we work every day to achieve the objectives we have, and we know what it is like, as we experienced it last season. The path is not easy. There are great teams, but we are confident and we want to have a good campaign and try to reach the final.''

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