Ranieri: Inter must get back on track
Claudio Ranieri has said he wants his team to become harder to beat by keeping their goal intact ahead of Friday's league match against Bologna.
Inter Milan are on a dreadful run of four defeats and a draw in their last five games. And although they only scored in one of those five, losing four times when they failed to hit the net, the coach believes it is their propensity to leak goals that has hurt them after they conceded 12 in that spell.
"We're coming off a run that isn't brilliant. We've taken some real blows and that hurts so we have to get back on track as soon as we can," said Ranieri. "Bologna haven't lost away from home since the beginning of the year but we need points, to play as we can and even if we have some defects, we need to play with attention and try not to concede."
A major issue at Inter recently has surrounded personnel, with Ranieri searching for the right formation to fit the players he has. Before their five-match run without a win, Inter had won seven straight games in the league but that was without Wesley Sneijder and Uruguayan forward Diego Forlan.
Now that both are fit again Inter have lost form, as Ranieri tried to insert them into a winning team. And there is no doubt the former Chelsea and Juventus coach is hoping to get more from them both. "[Forlan] is better but his return doesn't solve everything, he needs time to rediscover the right rhythm," said Ranieri. "Against Novara, [Sneijder] was very tightly marked but he still got in a lot of shots on goal."
One player who has not found much space in the side under Ranieri is Argentinian Mauro Zarate, known as much for his individual brilliance as he is for his lack of an end product. But Ranieri said he could still force his way into the side, if only he starts to become more productive.
"Mauro is a phenomenon but he's still struggling to get himself ingrained into the whole system - he's a bit of an anarchist," said Ranieri. "Even last year at Lazio he had some problems. I'm taking huge steps to model the team and I expect a lot from him because he has the ability to beat a man and create goals.
"He's a player who has my admiration and that of all his team-mates. He's suffering (on the bench) but in football things can change suddenly and doors can open, which must be exploited."