Midfielder Felipe Melo has urged Inter to show character as they face up to the daunting task of a 3-0 deficit in Wednesday’s Coppa Italia semi-final second leg against Juventus.
Inter are back at San Siro having had their hopes of an eighth Coppa crown all but dashed in January’s first leg at Juventus Stadium, where they were beaten 2-0 in Serie A on Sunday by Leonadro Bonucci’s second-half volley and an Alvaro Morata penalty.
That setback left Inter fifth and five points behind Roma in the battle for a top-three spot – dismal form in 2016 having put paid to their Scudetto hopes.
Coppa Italia ambitions among Roberto Mancini’s squad look set to go the same way, but Melo does not believe this is the time for anybody to be feeling sorry for themselves.
“We were in [Sunday’s] game until the first goal, then in the end we gave them two gifts,” the Brazil international told the Inter Channel.
“Now we need to get back on track immediately, we don’t have time to cry about this result.
“We must work in silence to bounce back. We’ve got the Coppa Italia coming up against Juventus and we have to put everything into that even if it won’t be easy.”
Inter sporting director Piero Ausilio offered a scathing assessment of the team’s efforts at the weekend, claiming they lacked “technique, determination, character and balls”.
But Melo defended the commitment of Mancini’s charges, who have now won only four of their past 13 competitive outings, and believes they must begin to atone for wastefulness in front of goal when they meet Juventus once again.
“We fight for every ball so I don’t think you can say anything in this respect,” he said.
“We have to score goals when we create chances. They hit the back of the net at the first time of asking, we didn’t.
“I won’t speak about individual players because I sometimes make mistakes too. Right now we have to keep quiet, work hard and allow our true qualities to come to the fore.”
The outlook is considerably sunnier for Juventus, who are on course to repeat last season’s Serie A and Coppa Italia double, having battled to a creditable 2-2 draw in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Bayern Munich.
“Juve are a huge club with a great history and subsequently we should be pushing to win every bit of silverware possible,” Melo’s compatriot Alex Sandro told his club’s official website.
“Each new player that arrives here from elsewhere knows that they are a winning team and that they will fight to win every single game.”
Juventus centre-back Giorgio Chiellini will undergo a scan on Tuesday having only lasted 35 minutes on his comeback from a calf problem on Sunday.
Inter will be without defender Jeison Murillo on account of his red card in the initial meeting after a Morata brace, with Paulo Dybala adding the third.
AC Milan are expected to negotiate their way past Lega Pro underdogs Alessandria on Tuesday and provide the final opposition.
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