Monday October 17 2011
Ranieri: 'Forget League, focus on Lille'

Claudio Ranieri has urged his Inter players to put aside their domestic issues and focus on Tuesday's Champions League clash with Lille.

The Coach was talking ahead of the Nerazzurri's trip to face the French League and Cup holders on Tuesday night. Inter are currently a point and a place ahead of Lille in Group B.

"We'll think about our League position in Italy on Wednesday. The Champions League is important.

"We've won in Moscow and now we face France's top-scoring team, a side with some fantastic individuals and one that knows how to play intelligently.

"We know we've got a tough game ahead of us but we go into it determined to win."

In Serie A, Inter currently sit just outside the relegation zone in 17th place, eight points of the pace and with the worst defence in the League, but Ranieri is insistent that it is still too early to write the team off.

"I'm certainly not making a big drama of the League standings. I think we'll come through it with determination, quality and desire.

"What the President and I have said to each other recently will obviously remain between ourselves, but the President believes in this team, he believes we'll get out of this moment and he believes in the quality of this group."

Whilst reflecting on the weekend defeat to Catania, the former Juventus and Roma tactician denied suggestions that the team were mentally weak.

"I don't think this team is afraid. Although naturally confidence drops a little when results aren't going your way. But we're not in freefall. It's a bout of bad weather but it will pass.

"If you analyse the Catania game there's a whole series of circumstances, when everything goes wrong and nothing goes the way you'd like it to. A series of negative events.

"But with the determination and character the lads are showing in training, we'll soon pull ourselves out of this situation. And moments of difficulty like this are an important challenge for the players, for the Coach, for the group as a whole.

When Ranieri was unveiled as Inter Coach he spoke of the dressing room as full of champions with the hunger and experience of winning, but has slightly altered his public message after four games in charge.

"You have to forget that you were the best in the world, even though we still have the quality of the best in the world. But now we have different situations, new difficulties, and we have to face them head on."

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