Ranieri seeks more emotion from Inter
MILAN - The Associated Press
Inter forward Diego Milito celebrates after scoring during his team’s Serie A victory against Chievo Verona. The game ended Inter’s six-week winning drought. REUTERS photoInter Milan manager Claudio Ranieri was moved to tears when he saw his squad end a nine-match winless streak at the weekend, and he’s hoping the emotion carries over for another inspirational victory against Marseille in the Champions League tonight.
Marseille carries a 1-0 first-leg lead to the San Siro but the French club is reeling after slipping to its fourth league defeat in a row without scoring a goal on March 9, 1-0 away to Ajaccio.
Inter beat Chievo Verona 2-0 with late goals from Walter Samuel and Diego Milito for its first win since defeating Lazio 2-1 on Jan. 22 and Ranieri had tears in his eyes after Milito’s strike.
“It shows how much this means to me,” Ranieri said. “This win comes just at the right time, it should give us the enthusiasm necessary to turn the result around.”
Inter has endured an up and down season, with Ranieri being drafted in to replace Gian Piero Gasperini in September, and there had been speculation recently that Ranieri could be on his way out, too.
But Inter started its turnaround with two late goals in a 2-2 draw with Catania eight days ago following another show of emotion - a changing-room speech from goalkeeper Julio Cesar at halftime.
“Julio told us that we had to go out and turn the result around, that everyone had to give a little more, because we couldn’t allow ourselves another loss at home,” Milito said. “And so we showed some courage and pride and we drew.”
Marseille’s last goal was Andre Ayew’s injury-time winner that decided the first leg at Stade Velodrome. Since then, Marseille has been blanked at home by Toulouse and away by Brest, Evian and Ajaccio. It is Marseille’s longest scoreless run since the 2006-07 season.
But coach Didier Deschamps insists the players will be able to forget their league form.
“It’s such a big competition that we won’t have any problem being motivated for it,” he said.