Roberto Mancini has called for Inter to remain focused as they begin a pivotal run-in to the Serie A season with a home fixture against Torino on Sunday.
Inter are in with a chance of qualifying for next season’s Champions League – they sit five points adrift of third-placed Roma in the table with eight games remaining – having picked up three wins and a draw before the international break.
As domestic leagues return to action across Europe, Mancini’s side find themselves up against opponents who have not registered a league victory since February 14.
The former Manchester City manager hopes the gap between fixtures has not put an end to Inter’s run of good form, as they look to record a fifth straight home win in Serie A for the first time since May 2011.
“It was the last break of the season so it’s straight through to the end now,” Mancini told the club’s official website.
“We have to keep doing what we’ve been doing in recent weeks. There are lots of points still to be won and everyone has tough games to play.
“If we can put together a good number of wins we can make up the gap.”
Inter held a 1-0 lead away at Roma on March 19 but had to settle for a draw after Radja Nainggolan scored a late equaliser for the hosts at the Stadio Olimpico.
“Perhaps we should have killed the game off – like other times – because you can always let a goal in at the end,” Mancini admitted.
“But obviously Roma were pressing us really hard looking for an equaliser at that stage. Up until then we’d defended very well.”
As for the visitors, Torino coach Giampiero Ventura found himself having to answer questions about his own future at his pre-match media conference.
“I never wanted to talk about my future because I consider it daft. I still have two years on my contract, I read of so many coaches who are supposed to be coming here, but this is football,” he said.
“As of today I think I am still the coach, because I have a contract, an important project and a lot of anger within me to show what we could’ve achieved.
“When I say mistakes were made, I include my own. I am really looking forward to the future.”
Ventura did confirm Torino will be without striker Ciro Immobile, who was taken off with a thigh injury at half-time during the 4-1 derby defeat against Juventus last time out.
Key Opta facts:
– Inter have lost only one of their last 23 Serie A games against Torino (W16 D6)
– Torino have failed to score in 11 of the last 16 away games against Inter.
– Andrea Belotti has scored two goals and made one assist in his last three Serie A appearances.
– The last four Serie A games between Inter and Torino have produced a total of only three goals, an average of 0.75 per game.
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