Inter midfielder Felipe Melo faces Lazio this weekend hoping to continue proving his doubters wrong back in Brazil.
Melo has criticised claims in the Brazilian media that a lack of game time for Inter was preventing him from potentially making a shock return for the national team
The midfielder’s last international appearance came in a quarter-final defeat against Netherlands at the 2010 World Cup, a game in which he was sent off, but head coach Dunga has not ruled out a recall.
“Here is the truth,” Melo told MeiaHora.
“I’m working hard and the Brazilian press says I’m a reserve at Inter, but I’ve played 30 games for the Nerazzurri.
“Why would I play so much if I was a reserve? I’m working hard and I’ve never hidden the fact that my desire is to return to the national team.
“That’s just how the Brazilian press is today, it’s made up of former players who haven’t won anything. That’s why no-one in Brazil respects them.”
Roberto Mancini’s men travel to Rome needing a win to keep alive their slim Champions League qualification hopes, with Inter seven points behind third-placed Roma with three games left in Serie A.
Gary Medel returns from suspension for Inter, giving Mancini a full squad to choose from as he seeks to break his team’s poor run away from home as Inter have won just one of their last eight games on the road in the league.
Lazio come into the game on the back of successive defeats at Juventus and Sampdoria.
Goalkeeper Federico Marchetti insists Lazio are aiming to end the season as strongly as possible, with Simone Inzaghi in temporary charge following the sacking of Stefano Pioli after a heavy derby defeat to Roma this month.
“We already knew Simone Inzaghi, but when there’s a change of coach it resets everything,” Marchetti told Corriere dello Sport.
“We all want to end this season in the best way possible. Pioli? We have good memories, there was satisfaction and some disappointments.”
Miroslav Klose is fit again and available for selection and Marchetti hailed the veteran striker’s impact, although he has only scored five goals this season.
“When he arrived I was curious to get to know him. He’s a great player and a great person who always helps the younger lads,” he said. “It’s been a good five years, Klose has made me better.”
Stefan de Vrij and Stefan Radu remain on Lazio’s lengthy injury list with Alessandro Matri and Ricardo Kishna, while Antonio Candreva, Marco Parolo and Milan Bisevac are also doubts.
Key Opta Stats:
– Lazio have won five of their last eight league matches against Inter (D1 L2), scoring in each of the last 11.
– Antonio Candreva made his Serie A debut against Inter back in 2008 – he has scored four goals against the Nerazzurri so far.
– Adem Ljajic has scored more goals against Lazio than against any other Serie A side (Four – including his very first one in the top flight in September 2010).
– Mauro Icardi has had a hand in five of Inter’s last seven goals in the league (three goals and two assists).
– Lazio have dropped just two points from winning situations at home so far (a joint-record alongside with Juventus) – while on the other hand, Inter are yet to win an away game from a trailing situation in the Serie A this season.
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