Inter Milan boss Claudio Ranieri has told his players to “believe”, as the San Siro giants prepare for their home grudge match with Juventus this weekend.
The Nerazzurri currently sit in a lowly 16th place in the Serie A table, and former Chelsea manager Ranieri – who replaced Gian Piero Gasperini as head coach in September – believes his players are suffering from a lack of confidence after a troubled start to the season.
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“When coaching changes happen, above all you need to rewire the players’ mentalities because if a coach is replaced things are going badly,” Ranieri told uefa.com.
“You need to bring back self-esteem and the lads need to start believing in themselves again and take risks like they used to.
“But you’ve also got to get them back to playing the sort of football they’re used to, which means being very compact as a team, because when I faced Inter as an opponent that was always their strength.”
In team news, league leaders Juventus – who will face a hostile reception due to this summer’s renewal of the Calciopoli saga – will be missing talismanic goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who is still out with a shoulder injury.
Emanuele Giaccherini is nearing a return but won’t be back in time to face Ranieri’s Inter, while Milos Krasic was left out of the clash with Fiorentina on Tuesday for tactical reasons.
The hosts will be without their first-choice goalkeeper – Julio Cesar – as well, after he suffered a thigh strain in the 1-1 draw with Atalanta on Wednesday.
Defenders Andrea Ranocchia and Walter Samuel will also miss the crunch clash due to injury, while Diego Forlan is still nursing a leg complaint.
It promises to be a fiery affair and with passions running high for the 19:45 kick-off this evening, both teams could end cancelling each other out. It will certainly be entertaining though.