Bologna will take a step towards ensuring Serie A survival if they are able to compound Inter’s recent frustrations at San Siro on Saturday.
Walter Mazzarri’s men have seen their hopes of UEFA Europa League football dented in recent weeks after dropping points against Atalanta, Udinese and Livorno.
They have still held on to Serie A’s final European qualifying place, but will be aware of the need to stop throwing away points cheaply.
Inter’s last slip-up came at struggling Livorno on Monday, after they had looked to be cruising to victory courtesy of two first-half goals.
Paulinho pulled one back before Fredy Guarin’s misplaced backpass allowed Innocent Emeghara to salvage a point and add to Inter’s frustrations.
While Mazzarri refused to single out the Colombian for criticism, he expressed his anger at Inter’s trend of giving up winning positions.
“Guarin just needs to play like he knows how, mistakes like the one (at Livorno) can happen,” he said.
“You might say it’s an off-day, but it’s a host of off-days that have seen us throw away important points. We need to progress to assess things well come the end of the season.”
Inter will be desperate to end their mini-slump and secure a return to European football following a year out due to last season’s ninth-place finish.
Qualification for the Europa League would represent an impressive achievement for a side in a transitional phase under Mazzarri, who is coming towards the end of his first season in charge.
Bologna, meanwhile, are simply focused on staying in the top flight, having won just one of their last eight games to slip to within a point of the relegation zone.
Perhaps more worrying is their recent inability to score. Bologna have found the net just twice during their aforementioned poor run, with both of those goals coming from the penalty spot.
They did hold Inter to a 1-1 draw in November, however, and have also taken points off the likes of Napoli, Parma and Lazio so far this term.
Amid reports the club’s hierarchy could opt to dismiss coach Davide Ballardini, who only took charge in January, the 50-year-old insists the board have backed him to keep Bologna up.
“Do I feel the club has faith in me? Yes,” he told Sky Sport Italia after Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Atalanta, which drew the anger of many supporters at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara.