Claudio Ranieri wants a ‘focused’ Inter
Inter Milan coach Claudio Ranieri has called on his players to remain focused for Tuesday night’s Champions League trip to Lille despite their worst start to a Serie A season in 28 years.
The Nerazzurri will be looking for a much-needed confidence-boosting win against Group B rivals LOSC after losing four of their opening six league games.
"We have to remain united and continue to work hard," said Ranieri, whose side finished the weekend eight points behind league leaders Juventus after going down 2-1 at Catania on Saturday.
He continued on www.inter.it: "No-one is happy and we must react to come out of this situation.
"Although we have to take it one step at a time, we need to hurry up and start to get things right.
"My players are disappointed and unhappy, as am I. But we have to remain focused and be ready because we face a very difficult game at Lille."
Inter won 3-2 at CSKA Moscow last month to climb to second in the pool, one point clear of Lille and one adrift of leaders Trabzonspor.
The Italian side will have to tighten up at the back if they are to clinch their second win in Europe this season.
Ranieri’s side have the worst defensive record in Serie A, having conceded 13 goals in six games.
To complicate matters for Ranieri, he will be without injured defender Walter Samuel, who sustained a thigh strain at the weekend.
However, Inter will be bolstered by the return of Julio Cesar, Cristian Chivu, Joel Obi and Wesley Sneijder.
All four players missed the clash at Catania through either injury or suspension but all are expected to start tomorrow.
In contrast to Inter, Lille won 3-1 at Auxerre on Saturday to extend their unbeaten run in Ligue 1 to eight games.
The result lifted Rudi Garcia’s side to fourth in the standings, four points behind leaders Paris St Germain.
"We could not have asked for a better result at Auxerre in order to prepare for our game against Inter," Garcia said on www.losc.fr. "Auxerre had been playing well and had not lost at home this season until now.
"Our performance and the win has given my players confidence but it’s also a great result for the team.
"We now hope to get our first victory in the Champions League this season."
Les Dogues were held to draws by CSKA Moscow and Trabzonspor in their opening two group games.