Jeison Murillo is eager to help Inter rediscover their early season form when they entertain Sampdoria at San Siro on Saturday.
Inter were the early pace-setters in Serie A, but have slipped to fifth having won just one of their last seven league matches.
The frustrations of Roberto Mancini’s side were compounded last weekend, with Alex Telles and Geoffrey Kondogbia dismissed as they surrendered the lead in a 2-1 defeat to Champions League rivals Fiorentina.
Mancini has subsequently placed the squad in a training camp, with double sessions undertaken on Wednesday and Thursday.
Defender Murillo feels pressure to turn the club’s – and his own – form around and help Inter rekindle their challenge for Champions League football, with leaders Juventus’ run of 15 consecutive wins opening a 12-point gap between themselves and Mancini’s men.
“I have to say, before Christmas we were having a great campaign,” the Colombian told Caracol Radio.
“Then after the winter break the team hasn’t done well and I haven’t done well personally, but we’re working every day.
“I feel good physically, maybe I haven’t played at my best but I want to get some games soon to return to the top.
“In Italy every team is strong and looks to win. Juve made a great comeback and it seems it’ll be difficult to stop them but we’re working to achieve our goal.”
Sampdoria will also be keen to bring an end to a series of disappointing results that have seen them slip dangerously close to the relegation zone.
The Genoa-based club have won just twice in 13 league matches since Vincenzo Montella replaced Walter Zenga at the helm, with just three points separating them from 18th-placed Frosinone.
Sampdoria have not tasted victory in any of their previous 13 Serie A visits to Inter, but their last triumph was inspired by Montella, who scored twice in a 4-3 win in December 1996.
Eder is still chasing his first Inter goal since arriving in January and he could be in line for a start against his former club on Saturday, while Andrea Ranocchia makes his San Siro return after signing for Sampdoria last month.
Along with Telles and Kondogbia, Mancini will be without Gary Medel due to suspension following an accumulation of yellow cards.
Niklas Moisander and Lorenzo De Silvestri (both muscular) are nearing returns for Sampdoria, but Carlos Carbonero (knee), Jacopo Sala and Modibo Diakite (both thigh) are expected to miss out.
Key Opta stats:
– Luis Muriel has scored four goals in Serie A versus Inter, including two in his three appearances at San Siro.
– Excluding the game against Frosinone, Inter have not been able to score more than a single goal in their other 11 Serie A home games this season.
– Inter have won six points in their last six league games – they had taken 15 in their opening six this season.
– No Serie A side have picked up fewer points than Sampdoria (nine) over the last 13 Serie A games since Montella took over the team.
– In the last game against Fiorentina, Mauro Icardi did not attempt any shot on target for the ninth time in 22 Serie A appearances this season – however, he has scored at least a goal in nine of the other 13 games that he has made at least one shot on target in.
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