Despite a dismal first half of the season, Lucas Biglia is adamant Lazio have the quality to deal Serie A leaders Inter only their third defeat of the campaign on Sunday.
Lazio, having finished third and qualified for the Champions League last campaign, are a lowly 12th in the table after 16 games.
Stefano Pioli’s side, who crashed out of the Champions League in the play-off round, are winless in their last seven league matches, although they did beat Udinese 2-1 in the Coppa Italia on Thursday.
The capital club are 16 points adrift of Inter, but a confident Biglia told Lazio Style Channel: “We should close the year with three points in Milan and we have the quality to do that.
“Give us some time and last season’s Lazio will be back. We’re a compact group and we just want results like last year’s.”
Lazio striker Miroslav Klose is a doubt for the visit to San Siro because of a thigh injury, while goalkeeper Federico Marchetti sustained a muscle strain celebrating against Sampdoria last weekend.
Santiago Gentiletti (hamstring), Senad Lulic (finger) and Ricardo Kishna (knee) are also unavailable.
Nemanja Vidic remains on the sidelines for Inter because of a back complaint, but Inter’s problems are few as they seek to take another step towards a first Scudetto since 2010.
Inter moved into the quarter-finals of the Coppa Italia on Tuesday by defeating Cagliari 3-0 and will take on Napoli in the next round.
Coach Roberto Mancini is understandably thrilled with Inter’s performances this season, but expects his side to run into difficulties in their bid to depose Juventus as champions at some stage.
“We started this project a year ago and things are going much better this season,” Mancini told Rai Sport following the victory over Cagliari.
“We change the line-up regularly to keep everyone ready. We have so many talented players and they all deserve time on the field.
“Inter still need to improve, though and there’s a lot more work to be done.
“It’s a long campaign and we will certainly run into some obstacles, but we’re happy to be top of the table for Christmas.”
Inter are unbeaten in their last three meetings with Lazio and took four points of them last term.
Key Opta Stats:
– Lazio have scored in their last 10 league games against Inter.
– Inter have scored seven goals in the last 15 minutes of games, only one fewer than Juventus.
– A league high six of Lazio’s goals have been scored by substitutes this season.
– Inter have collected 36 points from 16 games for the first time since 2009-10, when they went on to win the title.
– Lazio have gained only two points in their last seven league games.