Claudio Ranieri insists Inter “have many problems, but Wesley Sneijder is not one of them” against Catania. “Things were worse when I arrived.”
The Nerazzurri have lost seven of their last eight games and many believe the Dutchman’s tactical difficulties are key.
“We put together seven consecutive victories with a 4-4-2 system, but that was only a ‘disguised’ tactic, as Philippe Coutinho and Ricky Alvarez are not pure wingers,” said Ranieri in his press conference.
“There were so many scoring opportunities against Marseille and we did fairly well in the other matches too. It doesn’t depend on the system, but on what the players can do. We need to find the right approach for this team.
“Sneijder has to play behind one or two strikers and be allowed to invent his football there. It’s not right to say he is a problem. Let’s just say it’s not his best season. He needs to be dealt with in a certain way.
“Problems must be overcome and confidence is important. There are problems at Inter, otherwise they wouldn’t have fired Gian Piero Gasperini, but I must point out things were worse when I arrived.
“Even if we struggle to win now, we need to get out of this with the aid of club, players and fans. The supporters did jeer, it’s true, but they are in any case pushing us on.”
The main issue is in attack, as in those seven defeats in all competition, Inter have failed to score a single goal.
“There isn’t much determination, plus a bit of bad luck. There is excessive tension and we must be stronger than all of this. We’re doing everything we can and won’t give up. The lads feel the responsibility, but must also play without thinking of all the baggage. We must be free, so the crowd have to be understanding and supportive.”
Ranieri insists he does not fear the sack, even though President Massimo Moratti has not been entirely reassuring lately.
“I do not see this as an ‘in or out’ game. I have the full faith of the club and am determined to do well. I don’t feel that I am sitting an exam. When I arrived, the situation was even more critical. We had our backs to the wall, but I was just as positive and determined as I am now.
“We have to play as if this was the final match – not for me, but in terms of how we approach it. We have a problem and must not so much resolve it as overcome it with courage, determination and shaking off fear.”
Inter squad:Julio Cesar, Castellazzi, Orlandoni; Cordoba, Zanetti, Lucio, Maicon, Samuel, Faraoni, Juan Jesus, Nagatomo; Sneijder, Palombo, Poli, Cambiasso, Obi; Pazzini, Forlan, Milito, Zarate