Luciano Spalletti told Inter their showdown with Empoli will live long in the memory. “Results are tattooed on to your skin for the rest of your career.”
It kicks off on Sunday at 19.30 UK time (18.30 GMT), click here for a match preview.
The Nerazzurri need a win to be sure of Champions League qualification, but as Empoli are desperate to avoid the drop and Milan sit only one point behind, it could be a very tense 90 minutes.
“It is not unlike last season and when you reach a game that is do or die, you have to give your all,” said the Coach in his Press conference.
“I’ve never had a season where I reached the final round and felt relaxed. When I was at Roma, we had six finals with Inter. It happens to all the big clubs, depending on the objectives. I feel Inter have learned over the last couple of years to be well-prepared for this situation.”
There is added tension for Inter, because the ultras are ready to lose their patience after last week’s 4-1 defeat to Napoli.
“The fans love us and I prefer to be at San Siro. I realise there is tension and we are dealing with big games that can go wrong, but we’ve done very well in many more matches, so I expect the players to focus on taking Inter to the Champions League.”
Empoli had seemed doomed, but clambered out of the relegation zone with three consecutive victories. They’ll be safe as long as they at least match Genoa’s result in Florence.
“They are in good shape and clearly the sheer importance of what is at stake wipes out everything that came before,” continued Spalletti.
“All of that is irrelevant now, all that matters is how you prove yourself in these 90 minutes. We tried to fill our heads with what we need to reach the Champions League.
“We have to believe in ourselves and have the mental strength to get the result. It’s important, because results stay with you, they are tattooed on your skin for the rest of your career. Both the Coach and players will carry that result on our CVs for the rest of our lives.”
Spalletti confirmed that Matteo Politano and Stefan de Vrij have recovered from injury, but was asked who will start out of Mauro Icardi and Lautaro Martinez.
“It’s a game suited to both, as they have the character to make a difference in this match, because they have strong mentality and the same potential to influence the result.”