FC Internazionale Milano's roller-coaster campaign has gone into a spectacular dip in recent weeks but Diego Forlán hopes the Nerazzurri can return to dizzying heights when they visit Olympique de Marseille on Wednesday.
Inter were on an eight-game winning run before a 2-0 Coppa Italia defeat at SSC Napoli on 25 January. They have now lost five of their last six outings, culminating in Friday's 3-0 home defeat by Bologna FC; even four Diego Milito goals were not enough at the start of this month as US Città di Palermo fought back to earn a 4-4 draw. It has been a disorientating slump, leaving Claudio Ranieri's side 14 points adrift of Serie A leaders AC Milan.
Forlán has been unable to arrest the slide, but having recovered from injury – his second of an as yet forgettable first season at Inter – he is eager to make up for lost time having been added to their UEFA Champions League squad. "I was missing it," the Uruguay striker told UEFA.com. "This competition is the most important in the world and I'm looking forward to playing in it again. Now I can and we are already in the last 16."
But what can Forlán add for Inter? "What I have always tried to do for all the teams I played for: as a striker, you score goals," the former Manchester United FC and Villarreal CF forward said. "And also, now that I play a bit deeper, I can also help out defensively and give support there."
Forlán's one goal in 11 games for Inter came in his first outing, September's 4-3 defeat at Palermo. Much has changed at the club since that bright start, with Ranieri replacing Gian Piero Gasperini, but the 32-year-old has no regrets about his summer move. "I came here, played a few matches, and then the coach changed. It happens – suffering an injury, too. However I have always felt happy here; I'm totally convinced by the decision to come.
"Ranieri is a great coach," he continued. "In fact I've played against his teams in England and in Spain a few times, and I always respected him. He's coached many big teams. Now I am coached by him, and it's a real privilege. We are convinced that we can return to how we were doing during that series of seven consecutive [league] wins."
They could possibly turn the clock back even further, to May 2010 when Inter won the UEFA Champions League as Forlán picked up the UEFA Europa League with Club Atlético de Madrid. "There are a lot of strong teams with outstanding players. You just need to take it match by match and avoid setting expectations too high.
We have to focus on the tie with Marseille, get past them, and then we will see." The Inter roller coaster is not over yet.
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