Claudio Ranieri has responded to recent criticism surrounding Inter as he looks to focus the squad on the start of their Coppa Italia campaign this week.
The Nerazzurri have a strong recent record in the knockout competition and welcome Genoa to San Siro on Thursday as they begin this year’s edition in the Last 16.
“It matters a lot,” reflected Ranieri in an interview with RAI. “Inter won it last year and the year before, so it's important. Genoa are coming and it will certainly be a lovely match.
“I hope that our fans - although I know it's cold - are coming to support us. This is what the lads and I want, to bring many fans to the stadium.”
The interview also provided an opportunity for the Coach to hit back at criticism his team have received for the manner of their win in the Milan derby at the weekend.
Massimiliano Allegri and Zlatan Ibrahimovic both complained after Sunday's match of La Beneamata’s defensive tactics, whilst Arrigo Sacchi was also derogatory in assessing Ranieri’s work with his team.
“I’ll respond by saying two things,” said Ranieri. “One, I watch a lot of games and it doesn't seem to me that there are many teams playing this extraordinary type of football. There must be a few, certainly [Zdenek] Zeman's Pescara.
“Two, I think our fans enjoy themselves and if we manage to play 20 games like this then perhaps we'll win something.
“It’s not up to me to say whether it was a great match or not. I can say that we played against a great team and we did well to play it as we wanted to.”
Statistics published this week after the derby revealed that Ranieri now has a higher win percentage in the League at Inter than Jose Mourinho managed during his spell.
Subsequently, the former Juventus and Roma boss was asked if the tag of ‘the normal one’ remains accurate.
“I've been coaching since 1986. If now I'm the Coach of one of the most prestigious clubs in the world then I must have done something.
“No one has ever helped me, so I must have done something right along the way.”