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Udinese v Inter: Handanovic hails team spirit at Serie A leaders

Goalkeeper Samir Handanovic believes everyone is “chipping in” at Inter as the Serie A leaders prepare for a tricky trip to Udinese on Saturday.

Roberto Mancini’s side head to the Stadio Comunale Friuli knowing a win on the road will see them extend their lead at the summit to four points, albeit possibly only for 24 hours.

Nearest rivals Fiorentina are away to resurgent champions Juventus on Sunday, while third-placed Napoli – who sit two points back of Inter in the table – face Roma earlier on the same day.

A strong defence has been the foundation to Inter’s success this season, with Gonzalo Higuain’s brace in the 2-1 defeat to Napoli the only goals Handanovic has conceded in their past six league matches.

“We’re at the top of the league because everyone is chipping in, from the goalkeeper to the strikers,” the Slovenia international told the club’s official website.

“We look a very compact team from where I’m standing on the goal-line.”

Jeison Murillo and Miranda have formed a solid centre-back pairing in front of Handanovic, with the duo drawing comparisons to a great defensive double act from the club’s recent past.

“I know that some have compared myself and Joao Miranda to Lucio and Walter Samuel, the treble-winning partnership,” Murillo told ANSA.

“Now is the time of Miranda and Murillo, two players who have come to Milan with our characteristics and want to do even better.”

Inter will be without Danilo D’Ambrosio, who is serving a one-match ban after being dismissed in the 1-0 win over Genoa last time out.

Udinese, meanwhile, will be missing Danilo and Felipe dal Belo through suspension.

The hosts go into the weekend in 13th place in the table following a 3-0 loss to Fiorentina.

Key Opta Stats:

– Udinese have drawn only one of the last 14 Serie A matches against Inter (W5, L8).
– Inter are the only team yet to concede a headed goal in Serie A this term.
– Stevan Jovetic has scored five goals in six matches against Udinese, his favourite opponent in Serie A.
– Inter have scored in all of the last 11 away Serie A games, but have scored only one goal in each of  the last six away matches.
– Udinese have won only two of the last 12 home Serie A games against Inter (D4, 6L).

Fri 11 Dec, 2015
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