Inter Milan goalkeeper Samir Handanovic insists a top-three finish means everything to the club this season.
The 2010 European champions are sixth in Serie A, seven points off third-placed AC Milan in the final Champions League place, but Handanovic has urged his side to keep the faith that they can overhaul their rivals.
“Absolutely not,” the 28-year-old told Gazetta dello Sport when asked if his side are out of the running.
“There are three to four teams fighting for that goal, and I really believe it can happen. Sports people like me and my team-mates do not consider pessimism.”
Inter face Juventus in the Derby d’Italia on Saturday, and Handanovic said victory could be crucial for their top-three push.
“Let’s try to win, and then we’ll see,” he said. “We have to win because our motto is third place or nothing.
“In the league self-esteem grows from beating anyone, not just Juventus.”
Last time the two sides met Inter ran out 3-1 winners in Turin thanks to a brace from Diego Milito, who is sidelined with a serious knee injury.
Slovenia international Handanovic believes Juve justify their place at the top of Serie A, and concedes that the injury to their Argentine striker has been a massive blow.
“Everyone is where they deserve to be and Juventus are the strongest in the league,” he said.
“To say that the absence of Milito is decisive, is heavily obvious.”
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