Sereni left speechless
GOALKEEPER Matteo Sereni was left almost speechless by Ipswich's triumph over his fellow countrymen.The £5 million Italian savoured his clean-sheet display against Inter Milan and struggled to deliver his thoughts on what was clearly an emotional occasion for the ex-Sampdoria man.
By Mel Henderson
GOALKEEPER Matteo Sereni was left almost speechless by Ipswich's triumph over his fellow countrymen.
The £5 million Italian savoured his clean-sheet display against Inter Milan and struggled to deliver his thoughts on what was clearly an emotional occasion for the ex-Sampdoria man.
He smiled: "I have almost lost my voice because I didn't stop shouting out there. Before the game we talked about being concentrated and I was screaming all the time at the players in front of me."
It was an accomplished display by 26-year-old Sereni, who added: "I think it was our best performance of the season. I am very happy and it will help the confidence of all the players.
"We needed a match like this. Being near the bottom of the league is very upsetting for us and I hope this result will start us off on a better run.
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"You can see the effect it has had in the dressing room. Inter are second in Serie A and if they win on Sunday they could be number one. They are the most important team in Italy, a big, big team."
Sereni was only under threat of conceding a goal once, in the 11th minute when £11 million striker Nicola Ventola broke through.
The keeper said: "Ventola was in front of me, so it was a big save. Not conceding a goal is a bonus, especially in Europe."
Sereni also recalled one of the highlights of his career was keeping a clean sheet in a previous visit to the San Siro Stadium, venue for the second leg on December 6.
He remembered: "I was playing for Piacenza at the time and I must have made 12 or 13 saves in the game. It ended 0-0.
"I have played against Inter four or five times now, but that game five years ago was definitely the best."
Goal hero Alun Armstrong took his tally for the season to three and said: "It was unbelievable and credit to the lads for the way they played all night.
"To beat Inter Milan has to be our best achievement of the season. For the goal, it was a great ball in from Jamie Clapham. The gaffer told me to make sure I got to the far stick and fortunately for me I was able to get ahead of the defender and get on the end of it.
"I didn't see it hit the net. As soon as I headed the ball I knew it was going in. The gaffer said their defenders weren't that big and that as soon as the ball got wide I should get to the back stick.
"The lads have been disappointed with the way we have been playing in the Premiership. Tonight we showed everyone we can play and proved we're not as bad as people say we are.
"This result sets us up nicely for Sunday at Middlesbrough and that is obviously a game I am particularly looking forward to. I have been feeling poorly all week but this has given me a massive boost.
"I have been struggling for three weeks, training for about 20 or 25 minutes and then all of a sudden being sick. The gaffer decided to rest me, full stop.
"I got the goal but you have to give credit to Richard Naylor and Pablo Counago. I thought they were brilliant, both of them.
"I have had a miserable time, but I would rather have had that and score the winning goal against Inter Milan than be fit and not get a goal."
Central defender Titus Bramble added to his shirt collection with that of Inter substitute Sergio Conceicao, the Portuguese midfielder.
But the one he wants most of all is that of Brazilian star Ronaldo and 20-year-old Bramble laughed: "I hope he comes on for the last couple of minutes in the San Siro, then I'll stick nice and close to him."
Bramble's collection, which features shirts swapped with Premiership stars like Sol Campbell, Emile Heskey, Marcel Desailly, Andy Cole and Thierry Henry, is displayed in the hallway of his Ipswich home.
The England Under-21 star was only disappointed about one aspect of the Inter game – that he did not give his side a fifth minute lead.
He said: "I was a bit surprised when Veno's free-kick came all the way over to me. I stuck out a foot and I should have scored, but this was one of my best games for a long time.
"I always felt a goal was coming. We were creating a lot of chances and our crosses into the box were causing them problems.
"We mixed our pretty football with more direct football and it worked well. Now we must take this form into the Premiership, starting on Sunday at Middlesbrough.
"Not many teams beat Inter Milan. We should remind ourselves of that and I don't see why we can't go through to the next round. Inter will have to score and it suits us better to defend and hit teams on the break. The job's not finished yet, but we can do it."