Mauro Icardi is determined to silence his and Inter’s critics when they take on Verona at the Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi on Sunday.
Roberto Mancini’s men have been struggling to hit their best form in recent weeks after a sublime start to the 2015-16 campaign and have dropped to fourth place in the Serie A table.
They were hammered 3-0 by rivals AC Milan last week, with Icardi missing a penalty when his side were trailing by just one goal, and were heavily criticised in the aftermath of the game.
Inter bounced back with a 1-0 win over Chievo on Wednesday and Icardi – who netted the winner – is looking to build on that against rock-bottom Verona.
“My job is to score goals. I had bad luck in the derby, but that does not all of a sudden cancel out what I have achieved in the past,” Icardi told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“I did not hear any whistles. The people here love me and they are right to demand more when you play badly.
“But sometimes it looks like we cannot do anything right. If we win, people say we are playing bad. Yet we are attacked even more when we don’t win.
“We have to keep improving. We tend to relax and sit back when we go a goal up, but we have to keep pushing.
“We must keep giving our all and then we will see where we are come May.”
Inter have every reason to be optimistic heading into the match, having gone unbeaten in their last 13 Serie A games against Verona, whose last success came in 1992.
Verona have taken only two points in that run of games against the Nerazzurri, failing to score on eight occasions in the process.
Luigi Delneri’s face an uphill task to stay in the division, sitting 10 points adrift of 17th-placed Sampdoria. They did, however, have reason to celebrate on Wednesday when they saw off Atalanta 2-1 for their first league victory of the season, ending a 24-game winless run in Serie A stretching back to last season.
That result was preceded by draws against Torino, Genoa and Roma, meaning Verona are on a four-game unbeaten run.
However, they have picked up only one point from their last six home games against Inter, scoring three goals and conceding 13.
Key Opta facts:
– Both Inter and Verona have scored more than once in a game on just three occasions this term – fewer than any other side in Serie A.
– 12 of Inter’s 13 wins of this season have seen the Nerazzurri keeping the clean sheet, with 10 of these games ending 1-0.
– Verona have played out the most draws so far in Serie A this campaign (11).
– Verona and Inter are yet to score their first goal in the opening 15 minutes of play this season.
– Three of Verona’s last four goals in Serie A have been scored by Pazzini, while three of the last five have been assisted by Pawel Wszolek.