Icardi remains sidelined for Inter's Fiorentina trip

Absent for its last three games amid much talk over his Inter future, Mauro Icardi will miss the trip to Fiorentina.

Published : Feb 23, 2019 20:03 IST

Former Inter captain Mauro Icardi.
Former Inter captain Mauro Icardi.

Former Inter captain Mauro Icardi.

Mauro Icardi will miss a fourth consecutive game for Inter when it faces Fiorentina on Sunday. Icardi has not featured in any of Inter's last three matches with an apparent knee injury amid continued speculation over his future at the club after he was stripped of the captaincy.

Inter has reportedly offered Icardi a new four-year contract worth €6.5million per season, but he will not be re-joining his teammates for the trip to the Artemio Franchi, with Keita Balde Diao also still unavailable.

RELATED | Inter director Zanetti hopes for swift Icardi return

Speaking at a pre-match media conference, coach Luciano Spalletti said: "I hope to have Icardi and Keita back as soon as possible. It's unlikely for a team like Inter to depend on just one player as, if we did, then we wouldn't be a top-level side. There are others who can make the difference and allow us to stay in the top spots of the table.

"The team has clearly done better over the last few games and sorted out some things that had not been working well, but at the same time our lead over the chasing pack has been reduced and we've got to keep winning. There are many reasons for the improvements. On an individual level, we must give our all to get positive answers.

"We need to get some players back for the forward line, as our numbers are limited there at the moment and I'd prefer to have more options to rotate the squad."

Inter is third in Serie A, a point ahead of city rival AC Milan, but faces a Fiorentina side unbeaten in eight games in all competitions and boosted by the loan signing of Luis Muriel, who has scored three goals in five league games since joining.

"Muriel has the kind of pace that is difficult to deal with, so we need to be even better at working together to cut him off," Spalletti added. "We are in the right condition to play Fiorentina on level terms even in their own stadium and go there without fear.

"I am optimistic, because my team is in good shape. I am also not worried, as the teams getting closer are the ones we expected to be challenging."

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