Internazionale coach Roberto Mancini has been forced to defend his side amid criticism of his side’s disapppointing start to their Champions League campaign.
Back-to-back defeats leaving them at the bottom of Group B with four games to play have caused concern about the club’s qualification prospects.
“I think ten points from those games will be enough to qualify,” Mancini said.
“The main thing is that we win against Spartak. We hope we’ll do so in style but you can’t always guarantee that. If we win, everything will return to normal. We were much better in the second half on Sunday, created lots of chances and could have scored three or four.
“To be honest, I’m very pleased with the way we are playing. Of course, there are times when you could do better but when you are without two first-choice central midfielders it is a hard situation for any side,” added Mancini.
Fabio Grosso and Zlatan Ibrahimovi? were sent off in the defeat to Bayern Munich and miss out this time, although Hernán Crespo could return after making a swift recovery from a thigh strain.
Spartak are one point ahead of Inter after unlucky to have ganed more points by this stage.
“We know we are in a tough group but we played well in the first half against Bayern and deserved more than a point against Sporting,” said Spartak’s midfielder Mozart. “Wednesday will be hard but we have belief. We must try to attack and not just defend. Who knows? We might even win.”
Spartak coach Vladimir Fedotov said it was important his players were not overawed tonight.
“Just a glance at the names and you know that Inter are a team that needs no introduction, but we also have our strengths,” he said. “We haven’t been in the UEFA Champions League for four years so this is a golden opportunity for us to show what we can do and progress in this competition.”
Fedotov has slight doubts over defender Martin Stranzl, and Radoslav Ková?, although the Czech midfielder is expected to start.
Inter:?Júlio César; Maicon, Marco Materazzi, Iván Córdoba, Javier Zanetti; Luís Figo, Patrick Vieira, Olivier Dacourt, Dejan Stankovi?; Julio Cruz, Adriano.
Spartak:?Wojciech Kowalewski; Roman Shishkin, Geder, Martin Jiránek, Clemente Rodríguez; Vladimir Bystrov, Mozart, Radoslav Ková?, Yegor Titov, Denis Boyarintsev; Roman Pavlyuchenko.
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