13th March, 2012
A bullish Claudio Ranieri has insisted Inter Milan will overturn a 1-0 first-leg deficit to Marseille and advance to the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals.
The French giants visit the San Siro tonight hoping to heap further pressure on Ranieri, who is reportedly fighting for his job following a recent run of nine matches without a win. Marseille, though, are no strangers to crisis either. A 1-0 league defeat to Ajaccio on Friday was their fourth in a row.
Ranieri believes OM’s poor streak, and home advantage, could help Inter find the spark they need to eliminate Didier Deschamps’ side.
“Before the first leg it was us who had suffered a few defeats while Marseille were coming off something of a positive streak, so the situation has been turned on its head,” said the Italian. “But with a full stadium, which will give us a boost, we are determined this team won’t fail.
“We know everything about Marseille, that they are dangerous and quick on the counter-attack. We know their strengths and weaknesses.”
Inter head into this game feeling buoyed by a last-gasp victory at Chievo on Friday – their first in ten matches in all competitions. Ranieri believes that kind of dogged determination will prove crucial against Marseille.
“Whatever we did, we were losing matches even when we had chances to win them,” he said. “But the fact we kept chipping away against Chievo until the very last minute is going to help us tomorrow.”
An away goal for Marseille would give Inter a mountain to climb, however, and the Italian admitted: “We can’t afford to concede any goals, so we need to keep fully focused throughout.”