Inter seeking to bring European form home
Inter Milan tackle Chievo at the San Siro this weekend hoping to transfer their European form into the domestic arena.
Inter have won their last two UEFA Champions League ties despite facing tricky away games but at home they have been in crisis. They sit above the relegation zone on goal difference and only one side, rock-bottom Cesena, have garnered fewer points this season.
But their morale-boosting 1-0 victory away to Lille in midweek has re-energised the club. They have lost four and won only one in their six league games so far and are already on their second coach this season.
But despite such an awful start, they are only eight points off leaders Juventus and, perhaps more importantly, just four behind bitter city rivals and title favourites AC Milan.
"Now we will get back to winning ways against Chievo and then that will give us continuity. The other teams, those who are ahead of us at the moment, could also go through negative moments."
Inter's primary problem in the league has been defensively as they have the worst goals against record in Serie A, conceding more than two goals a game.
But goalkeeper Julio Cesar is confident they will turn that around. "They say that we need to rediscover the unbeatability that we had, that the once steady defence is now our weakness but I have a lot of confidence in my work and in my defensive team-mates," he said.
"Whoever plays in front of me gives me security but in football you go through different periods and it's up to us to show our true defensive worth now."
Inter have yet to win at the home this season and coach Claudio Ranieri believes they need to start enjoying themselves more. "We need passion, that's the most important thing. Those who play football are professionals but they love their work," he said.
"It's a game even though it's become a job, which in Italy is very stressful, but we have to make the players enjoy playing football again and that's why I use the ball a lot in training."
In other games leaders Juventus will try to maintain their grip on top spot when they host Genoa on Saturday night. However, they suffered a scare regarding goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon in midweek and will be sweating on his fitness having already lost forward Emanuele Giacherini for three weeks.
The other team defending an unbeaten record is Udinese and they face what on paper looks the easier task of hosting promoted Novara. They only trail Juve on goals scored so have a great chance to move to the top of the standings if they win well.
Milan play in Sunday's early game away to lowly Lecce with Massimilano Allegri's team another hoping to transfer their positive European form into domestic competition. Milan currently sit in the bottom half but owner and Italy Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was so impressed with their 2-0 victory over BATE Borisov in the Champions League in midweek that he believes they can conquer all-comers.
"We had many injuries (earlier in the season) but when the squad is complete we can be competitive both in the Champions League and climb up the league table," he said. "We're improving and with these players we can do well, we have one of the best squads in Europe."