Claudio Ranieri is still beaming from the derby triumph, but tells Inter that “Lazio will be far more complicated and I made a mistake with Wesley Sneijder.”
The Nerazzurri have now won six on the bounce in Serie A, plus their midweek 2-1 Coppa Italia success against Genoa, putting them right back in the Scudetto race.
“What we achieved is now history and we must put that in the past. What counts now is Lazio, who are a dynamic team. It’ll be a far more complicated game than the derby,” said the Coach in his Press conference.
“It’s not a derby for me as an ex-Roma man. It is simply a difficult game against a side that has earned more points away from home than at the Olimpico. Their only away defeat was at Siena straight after the Winter break, then they returned to their old selves.
“As for Inter, we’ve made giant leaps forward, but now face a tough obstacle and our concentration must be at 100 per cent. I always try to field the most competitive line-up, so everyone is needed.”
Sneijder made his comeback against Milan last week for a few minutes, then started the Coppa Italia game with Genoa.
“After two months I saw his first game, in which he was determined and confident. He inevitably lacks match fitness, but I must remember I made a mistake with Sneijder at the start when I played him regularly so he could get back into shape. Instead, that prompted a relapse.
“This is why he will now be slowly introduced back into the side. Sneijder will play when I believe the time is right. Along with Diego Forlan, Cristian Chivu and Dejan Stankovic, he’ll be our ‘big’ January signing.
“There are no hierarchies in my squad. Those in the starting line-up are there because at the moment they are in the best shape. Right now I see Luc Castaignos in better shape than Mauro Zarate, but that can change.”
Ranieri also had a sideswipe at Massimiliano Allegri and those who said Inter played too negatively against Milan.
“I’d appreciate a little respect for a Coach who admits when an opponent played better. Beautiful football is defined differently by everyone, as in my view we had a wonderful game against Milan and if we ask the fans I assume 90 per cent of them will agree.”
Inter squad: Julio Cesar, Castellazzi, Orlandoni; Cordoba, Zanetti, Lucio, Maicon, Ranocchia, Samuel, Chivu, Faraoni, Nagatomo; Sneijder, Alvarez, Poli, Cambiasso, Obi; Pazzini, Milito, Zarate, Castaignos
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's World Cup tipster competition - £10,000 to be won!