Claudio Ranieri notes Inter “are in favourable form” going into the Milan derby on Sunday night, “but it’s always a game apart from the others.”
The Nerazzurri have won five consecutive Serie A matches and a win tomorrow evening could put them right back in the Scudetto race.
“It’s always a game apart from the others, outside the context of the League, and particularly emotional for fans and players,” said the Coach preparing for his first Derby della Madonnina.
“Milan are up there, unbeaten in 12 rounds. We respect them a great deal, but will aim to beat them. We’ve prepared for this match, are in favourable form and Inter are ready.”
Julio Cesar is in the squad despite a back problem, while Wesley Sneijder and Diego Forlan also return.
“I don’t know how many minutes Sneijder has in his legs, as he hasn’t played since November. I am very pleased to see him back, along with Cristian Chivu and Forlan. It’s a shame about Dejan Stankovic, as he was training very well, but today felt pain in the tendon.
“I am certainly not going to complain at having a large squad to choose from, as a Coach only begins to have problems when he is forced into decisions.”
Ranieri had some very specific warnings for the Nerazzurri with regards to tactics and approach.
“We always tend to concede at the first counter-attack, so we have been warned. Milan know more than anyone how to hurt teams on the counter.
“Is the derby a crossroads? As we already said against Juventus, Napoli and Udinese, the three points are the important thing. We lost three head-to-heads this season and it seemed as if we’d never be able to get back into the race.
“If we win, then Milan will lose precious points and start to believe we’re back. If we lose then we stay where we are with another 20 matches to climb back up.”
The Inter boss concluded by wishing Milan Coach Massimiliano Allegri well after signing a contract extension.
“It wasn’t easy for him to come in to a big club without much experience. He worked and earned the respect of everyone. I am very happy he renewed his contract.”
Betting on Serie A? Bet365 are offering a 100% deposit bonus, up to £200 - find out more