Premier League

Pulis hopes for Crouch form

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Sat, 20 Apr 2013 12:05:00

Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti has reaffirmed his support for beleaguered head coach Andrea Stramaccioni ahead of tomorrow's crucial Serie A meeting with Parma.

The Nerazzurri are in crisis. Four defeats in five league games have left Stramaccioni's men nine points shy of the last Champions League place while a midweek Coppa Italia semi-final defeat to Roma ended their last chance to win silverware.

Furthermore, plans to salvage a consolatory Europa League place were dealt a further blow as two more players joined an ever-growing injury list at San Siro.

Midfielders Esteban Cambiasso and Fredy Guarin have both been diagnosed with leg injuries to join 11 other senior players on the sidelines, although striker Rodrigo Palacio did return to light training this week.

But Moratti understands the unusual pressures his young coach has been working under and rejected media speculation linking former Roma boss Zdenek Zeman and Zenit St Petersburg manager Luciano Spalletti with Stramaccioni's job.

He told inter.it: "I have to repeat what I said the other day. I can't possibly pass judgement on someone who hasn't had a third of the assets he should have had at his disposal.

"It's you guys that come up with these names, because I haven't made contact with any coaches. I read the same names in the newspaper as everybody else - there's nothing to them."

Antonio Cassano, Diego Milito, Joel Obi, Gaby Mudingayi, Luca Castellazzi, Cristian Chivu, Dejan Stankovic, Ibrahim M'Baye and Walter Gargano complete Inter's lengthy list of walking wounded.

Parma, meanwhile, are without suspended defender Gabriel Paletta with Jonathan Biabiany, McDonald Mariga, Raffaelle Palladino, Emilio MacEachen and Fabiano Santacroce all nursing injuries.

Gialloblu boss Roberto Donadoni is urging his players to bounce back from a demoralising 3-0 home defeat to Udinese by completing a season double over Inter.

"It was the lack of passion and determination to make the game our own on Sunday that I didn't like," he said.

"If this team can find a balance and if the players can start worrying about themselves and not the opponent, we will find the right motivation."

Nicola Sansone scored the only goal as Parma won 1-0 at the Ennio Tardini in November but the Crociati have lost six consecutive games at San Siro, with Inter scoring 10 goals in the last two home fixtures.

After suffering a clash of heads with Newcastle's Fabricio Coloccini in November, the England striker had three teeth replaced, and it was revealed this week that Crouch also required surgery on his jaw.

Crouch, who has scored just one goal in his last 26 games for Stoke, has been backed by Pulis to return to his best form in order to assist the Potters in their struggle against the drop. Stoke have taken just one point from their last 21 available in the Premier League.

"There's been a while, especially after his injury, where Peter has not performed to the level he was at before," Pulis said.

"He had a good start to the season and looked a real handful. Hopefully he will be back to what he was in the next five games."

Pulis also admitted that he club were under pressure after their poor run of late.

"We know the pressure that the club is under to get results but it's about handling the pressure.

"I've been in difficult situations before and there's stuff in you that will keep you going. The most important thing is getting it over to the players."

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