FC Internazionale Milano's minds may be on their must-win UEFA Champions League tie against FC Spartak Moskva next Wednesday, but first they must concentrate on Sunday's Serie A visit of Calcio Catania.
'Focus on Catania'
Inter trail joint-leaders AS Roma and US Città di Palermo by one point and, in contrast to their two defeats in Europe, are yet to lose in their domestic campaign. "We cannot make further mistakes in the UEFA Champions League after losing our first two games in the group," coach Roberto Mancini said. "But first we have to keep our focus on Catania in order to avoid unpleasant surprises. We have to take one game at the time."
Under Mancini, the Nerazzurri have lifted the Coppa Italia for two years in succession and were, of course, awarded the Scudetto after the scandal which hit Italian football last summer. However, Mancini knows he will need to win Serie A or the UEFA Champions League on the pitch this season in order to stay at the helm. "I am well aware of the fact I will have to leave if I do not win anything," Mancini told the Gazzetta dello Sport on Friday. "However, I am convinced we can do it and believe we can compete until the end of the season on every front."
The last time Inter met Catania was in the 1983/84 campaign, with the Nerazzurri trouncing the Sicilian side 6-0. Catania, however, have earned five points in their Serie A comeback and want to show that much has changed in 22 years. "It is a very difficult game but at least I will not have to motivate my players," said coach Pasquale Marino.
Inter will be without the injured Hernán Crespo and Esteban Cambiasso while Patrick Vieira is suspended. Olivier Dacourt should play in central midfield with Luís Figo operating behind out-of-form strikers Zlatan Ibrahimović and Adriano. Ibrahimović has not scored since the Serie A opener at ACF Fiorentina while the Brazilian is still seeking his first goal of the season. Elsewhere, Palermo welcome Atalanta BC and Roma face Reggina Calcio on Sunday, while the day before AC Milan hope to continue their climb up the table at UC Sampdoria.
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