Claudio Ranieri urged Inter to “turn the tide” in their Champions League trip to Olympique Marseille, relying on “the adrenaline of the big occasion.”
The Nerazzurri are in crisis with five defeats from their last six official outings, so much of their season now rests on the result in the Round of 16.
“This is an unusual season, as things went badly, then very well, now badly again, but the Champions League resumes and I’m sure we’ll do well,” said the Coach in his press conference.
“I am pleased to face Didier Deschamps again, as he is someone I respect very much. I hear he said we are the favourites in this tie, which makes sense, as Inter won everything two years ago. However, we’re going through a difficult period while Marseille are in good shape, so we have to turn the tide.”
It was also widely reported Ranieri could be sacked if he loses Wednesday’s trip to the Velodrome.
“I am not thinking about what could happen the day after tomorrow. I’m too focused on what is happening tomorrow. I do not feel that I am at risk, even if there are some good... sponsors for my job.
“I’ll never ask the squad to play for me, but rather to play for the team they represent. I am always calm and have an excellent rapport with the President.
“Of course we have to react and put in a good performance, even though I know it will be difficult, but then these are the challenges that fascinate me.”
Ranieri admitted this week he felt somewhat obliged to field Wesley Sneijder even when it was perhaps not the best thing for the team.
“Sneijder is an important player, but there’s no point trying to interpret my words. Just wait and see what my choices are. I brought all the available players to Marseille and they are all important, so I’ll make my decisions without pressure.
“I do not feel anxious, as that really isn’t in my personality. Will this be the turning point? All year we’ve been looking for that match, but I fear Serie A will be made of peaks and troughs for the rest of the campaign.
“Now we are in the Champions League. This side needs to feel the adrenaline of the big occasion, so I expect to see a team that is alive, strong and convinced of its abilities.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £5,000 monthly.