Inter Milan go into their crucial clash with Napoli at the San Siro in desperate need of a win in order to kickstart what has so far been a torrid season.
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Inter picked up a solitary point from their first three games, a run of results which meant manager Gian Piero Gasperini was given the boot and former Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri brought in in order to offer some stability to the free falling club.
“The Tinkerman” has at least steadied the ship after the Italian giants reached their lowest ebb – a 3-1 defeat at the hands of minnows Novara nine days ago – and guided his new side to back to back victories in Serie A and the Champions League.
Now he must help restore the club back to their rightful place at the top of the pile, and nothing would send a clearer message to their rivals that their early season woes are in the past than an emphatic victory against a Napoli side that are winning fans all over Europe with their refreshing brand of football.
While Inter have floundered, Napoli have taken to both the Champions League and the race for the Serie A title like a duck to water, sitting just one point off early pace-setters Juventus and more than holding their own in a Champions League group that has been labelled the “group of death”.
Walter Mazzarri’s side overcame Villarreal 2-0 in the Champions League last night, prompting Villarreal coach Jaun Carlos Garrido to describe them as “the best team in Italy” – a crown Inter used to lay claim to on a regular basis.
Napoli have already claimed the scalp of AC Milan this season, with the lethal Edinson Cavani claiming a hat-trick, and Ranieri and his side will have to be wary of the Uruguayan striker, and the impressive attacking unit Mazzarri has assembled, on Saturday.