Inter are confident they can overturn a 2-0 deficit against city rivals Milan as they welcome back Adriano for the second leg of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final.
Adriano has been out with a knee injury sustained against Fiorentina last month, but the 23-year-old Brazil striker is fit to play some part as he looks to add to his seven Champions League goals this season.
Inter coach Roberto Mancini said: “Clearly he isn’t 100 per cent fit. But all he needs is three shots on goal to score three goals. He’s an indispensable player for a match like this.”
Captain Javier Zanetti believes the return of the Brazilian could be crucial tonight.
“It’s important to have him back,” said Zanetti. “A player with his qualities can be decisive on the pitch and create difficulties for any defence.”
Juan Sebastian Veron is also expected to start as playmaker, with Andy van der Meyde supporting the strikers.
“We have nothing to lose and must try to score three,” said Mancini. “Our pride will be a key. Soccer is open to sensational comebacks and I’m confident we can do it.”
Mancini will also draw comfort from the suspension of Milan’s Rino Gattuso.
Mancini is seeking inspiration from last season’s quarter-final which saw Milan throw away a three-goal lead to Deportivo La Coruna.
“An early goal changed the game,” said Mancini. “If we can keep them out in the early exchanges, and get a goal ourselves, it could spur us on to achieve something extraordinary.”
Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti, however, does not see the parallels.
He said: “This situation is different from that at La Coruna, since we won’t feel like we are playing away from home. San Siro is our stadium.”
Mention of of Adriano did not seem to concern Ancelotti, whose side have the best defence in the Champions League – conceding just three goals in 9 matches.
“If Adriano plays, we will have to watch him,” said Ancelotti.
“However, we have to pay attention to all their strikers, they can cause us trouble as well. Every game can have hidden dangers.”
Inter: Francesco Toldo, Javier Aldemar Zanetti, Ivan Ramiro, Cordoba, Giuseppe Favalli, Cristiano Zanetti, Esteban Matias Cambiasso, Andy Van Der Meyde, Juan Sebastian Veron, Dejan Stankovic, Adriano.
Milan: Dida, Cafu, Jaap Stam, Alessandro Nesta, Paolo Maldini, Massimo Ambrosini, Andrea Pirlo, Clarence Seedorf, Kakà, Andrii Shevchenko, Hernan Crespo