Sunday January 15 2012
Ranieri: 'Huge steps forward'

Claudio Ranieri hailed Inter for “making huge steps forward,” but warned Wesley Sneijder now has to find his place in the new-look side.

“We are making huge steps forward and it was important to beat Milan, the first head-to-head in our favour. Evidently the other three defeats to Juventus, Napoli and Udinese taught us a lesson,” he said after a 1-0 victory.

“We were tight, tactically smart and ready to hit them at any moment. At times this season we played badly and won. Now we’ve been doing well and have rediscovered the energy to get back to our best.”

The result was their sixth consecutive Serie A win and puts them in fifth place, back in the Scudetto race.

“From the first day I arrived I said the Scudetto is out in front of us. Juventus slowed down this weekend and we stopped Milan. The first thing was to get into the Europa League places, now the next step is the Champions League.

“You know it is in Inter’s blood, in their DNA, to fight for the top titles, but this season we have to take it one game at a time.

“I was convinced we started well against Juventus, Napoli and Udinese, but were always penalised by our first error. This is why I told my men to stay united and not waste energy trying to pressure them high up the field. We’d just let Milan run themselves ragged and then strike when the time was right.

“These players won everything, so they couldn’t just be ‘finished’ from one day to the next. It was just an issue of rediscovering confidence and enthusiasm. It took some ‘provincial’ performances, but that’s what we needed at the time.”

Sneijder and Diego Forlan were on the bench for this game and Ranieri warned he won’t transform his new 4-4-2 system overnight.

“I believe the wonderful and difficult thing is when a Coach has options to choose from. We have great champions like Sneijder and Forlan who need to be introduced into this unit that has been doing so well recently. They must be patient and slowly settle in, then they’ll be in the best condition to show us their quality.”

The Coach was also asked about Inter’s negotiations with Manchester City for Carlos Tevez.

“Tevez? Never say never. The media really want Tevez to come to Serie A, that’s for sure.”

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