Luciano Spalletti insists there’s “not such a big difference” between Inter and Milan going into the Derby della Madonnina and this clash “needn’t be decisive.”
It kicks off on Sunday at 19.30 GMT, click here for a match preview.
The Nerazzurri go into this clash one point behind their city rivals, fresh from their Europa League exit to Eintracht Frankfurt.
“We are disappointed with what happened, but there are reasons we played below our capabilities,” said the Coach in his Press conference.
“People must be fair in their analysis, there were a lot of players injured and others who weren’t fully fit. We should’ve done differently, especially as in the first leg we proved that we had what it takes to go through.
“Now we need to recreate a strong squad structure, work out roles and decisions. Clearly, there is some bitterness at the result, but we need the team to rediscover the ability to fight and play, even if there isn’t much time.
“Milan are a strong team, they are playing good football. Our objective is to finish in the top four, if at all possible third or second, but the fundamental thing is to get into the Champions League.
“The Derby cancels out all predictions and recent form. The result is difficult to guess, but we both want to win. It needn’t become decisive, because there is a long way to go, but clearly a defeat would cause a lack of confidence.”
Spalletti confirmed Radja Nainggolan is not even fit enough for a spot on the bench, while Joao Miranda is struggling with the protective mask after surgery on a fractured nose. Mauro Icardi still nowhere to be seen.
“Let’s not forget last season we qualified for the Champions League when everyone thought we were done for. We were capable of bringing home that result.”
Milan have been revitalised in part due to the January arrival of hitman Krzysztof Piatek from Genoa, so do Inter have a plan to deal with him?
“It’s to do things as a team and not individually. Clearly, we will also consider some one-on-one situations, but there’s no man-marking nowadays. Piatek can make the difference, but so can Lautaro Martinez.
“It’s true we are behind Milan, but only by one point. We’ve got the same chances as they do. Milan got to the Coppa Italia semi-finals, but we only went out on penalties, so I don’t see such a big difference.
“What’s damaging is thinking you are not up to the task, but that is not the case here. Inter players will be there to play. We need to play the ball more and break free of their pressing.”