Felipe Melo has praised the “family atmosphere” within the Inter dressing room as they continue their push for the domestic double with a Coppa Italia round-of-16 match against Caglari.
Roberto Mancini’s side put pressure on the chasing pack in Serie A with a ruthless 4-0 victory over Udinese on Saturday – their sixth win in seven league matches without conceding a goal.
Inter turn their attentions to the cup on Tuesday with a home clash against Cagliari, who moved to the top of Serie B with a 1-1 draw at Livorno.
Felipe Melo feels the seven-time winners can head into the match with plenty of confidence as a result of a far greater sense of unity within the playing squad this season.
“We’re a compact team and we’ve created a family atmosphere. What matters is we’re winning together and suffering together,” he told Inter Channel.
“We have a team that works hard and sticks together. We try to make sure we’re always ready when the boss comes calling.”
Key to Inter’s run of just two defeats all season has been a much-reduced injury list, with Nemanja Vidic (back) and Davide Santon (ankle) the only senior players set to be unfit for Cagliari’s visit.
Mancini hailed the impact of substitute Marcelo Brozovic on Saturday, with the 23-year-old scoring a sublime fourth goal in Udine, and the Croatian could well earn a starting spot on Tuesday should Inter look to rotate ahead of a pivotal Serie A clash with Lazio at the weekend.
Daniele Dessena (broken leg) is Cagliari’s only major injury absentee, but coach Massimo Rastelli must weigh up whether to rest key first-team players ahead of a showdown with fellow Serie B promotion-chasers Bari on Saturday.
“They were two points lost – we deserved more for what we created,” he said after the draw with Livorno. “Bari will be a battle with a team like us, built to win the championship.”
Cagliari will be buoyed by thoughts of last season’s visit to San Siro, as Albin Ekdal’s hat-trick helped them to an emphatic 4-1 victory over Inter – one of just three away wins throughout the league season in which they narrowly failed to avoid relegation.
The Sardinians have already claimed a Serie A scalp on the road this season, having beaten Sassuolo 1-0 in the fourth round on December 3.