Inter not inferior to Roma and Lazio, Spalletti insists

Inter have fallen behind Roma and Lazio in the battle for Champions League qualification, but Luciano Spalletti has faith in his side.

Luciano Spalletti of Inter   -  Getty Images

Luciano Spalletti believes Inter are on the same level as Champions League semi-finalists Roma and their cross-city rivals Lazio, as the race for a top-four finish in Serie A enters the home stretch.

Inter made a strong start to the league season and even led the standings ahead of Juventus and Napoli.

Their first loss of the campaign, a 3-1 defeat at home to Udinese on December 16, came during an eight-match winless sequence either side of the mid-season break.

The Nerazzurri's subsequent demise from unlikely title challengers to European qualification hopefuls has left them fifth in the table, one point behind fourth-placed Lazio and four back from Roma in third spot.

Speaking to the media ahead of Sunday's match away to relegation-threatened Chievo, Spalletti was adamant his players should not be unhappy at their situation. 

"Inter are in no way inferior to the Roman teams," the coach said.

"We're only one point behind, but otherwise are on the same level. Plus, we are Inter.

"What we've done so far is not totally wrong. We wanted to play for a Champions League spot to the end and that is where we are now. We'll grow if we learn from our mistakes and must be ambitious.

"The most important match is always the next one and we have to focus on that, not on the table or what the other sides are doing."

Assessing the contest at Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi, he said: "Chievo have experience and know how to deal with difficult situations, so they know that at this stage of the season it's important to play in a certain way to achieve the objective of safety.

"All this makes tomorrow's game very dangerous for us, as they need points as soon as possible to ensure they can stay in Serie A definitively.

"We too are targeting an important objective and there isn't much time left for us to achieve it. We can't delay any further, can't make any more mistakes. We are working well and on Wednesday showed we're in good shape.

"We now have to give it everything we've got for the final weeks of the season."

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