Ranieri: Players are secret to success
Inter Milan are riding a six-match winning streak in Serie A but coach Claudio Ranieri is aware they need to keep that run going if they are to cut the six-point deficit on league leaders Juventus.
The Nerazzurri go into Sunday's game against Lazio at the San Siro full of confidence after last Sunday's 1-0 triumph over AC Milan saw them climb to fifth place.
Ranieri's men followed that result with a 2-1 win over Genoa on Thursday in the Coppa Italia. The midweek success allowed Inter to set up a meeting with Napoli in the quarter-finals of that competition.
"The secret of our success are the players," Ranieri said. "When they are good, proud and are hungry to do well, everything becomes easier."
Their impressive run of form has fuelled hopes among Inter's passionate fans that they could challenge for the scudetto.
However, Ranieri has stressed the importance of not being overconfident.
"We have to do what we are doing," he said. "We take on Lazio, a team that has taken points whether at home or away, and we must focus on them.
"We just have to keep working."
Lazio have not won at Inter in Serie A since 1998 and coach Edy Reja will be hoping his side can end that rot on Sunday night.
The Romans halted a three-match winless run in the league with a 2-0 triumph over Atalanta last weekend.
Reja's men showed a drastic improvement with respect to their shocking 4-0 loss at Siena a week before.
The Biancoceleste will be looking to defend their current fourth position, with Inter just one point behind them.
"Inter are a strong team physically and mentally," Reja said. "They played well in the derby.
"However, we will go to Milan looking for a win - I'm sure of that."
The hosts will be without suspended midfielder Thiago Motta and injured striker Diego Forlan.