Stefano Pioli laid down a marker this afternoon, calling upon his players to finish the season in the best way possible starting this weekend against Fiorentina.
"We want to prove we can finish the season in a better league position than we are today," the Nerazzurri coach announced from the Suning Training Centre. "The objectives have to be getting back to winning ways, climbing up the table and qualifying for the Europa League. We’ll have to perform as well as we can and choose our best team. We’ve been in the chasing pack for six months now, but the truth is that the distance isn’t insurmountable. We have the quality to play well and win a lot of games from here until the end".
"We’ve conceded goals from our own errors with the ball and on set pieces," Pioli continued. "We must improve on these two points to get back to top form quickly. It’s wrong to focus on the past too much; every week we work hard to line up in the best shape possible on the weekend. Aside from a few tactical issues in recent matches, we’ve lacked the ability to stay focused for the full 95 minutes and we’ve paid the price, failing to win games that we deserved to. The derby is a unique fixture," he said, referring to Sunday’s game against AC Milan, "but everyone who played gave it their all for the whole contest. Perhaps we should have dealt with a few counter-attacks better, but we’ve analysed it from every angle. We trail fourth place by five points and we’re still to play them [Lazio – ed.]. It will be tough on Saturday against a top side who are coached very well; coming back from Florence with three points will be a massive result."
Pioli then moved onto his squad and the need for everyone to contribute, including those not always in the starting XI: "Miranda has shown his ability both for Inter and his national team. It’s not up to one person to improve; the entire squad has to get better. As for Gabriel Barbosa, I’m lucky enough to have a lot of options and decisions to make. When a coach picks his team, it gives a boost to some players and demoralises others. In some games, I’ve had to make decisions while in others I haven’t. Everyone has to work with intensity in order to make sure they’re ready when the time comes".
"I coach a squad of professionals who are intent on giving their best. We’re all working together to ensure Inter play to our full potential now in order to build a better future. I’ve appreciated the work of the club and the directors, especially in the tough moments of the season – it’s very easy to give your support when things are going well. I’m lucky as a coach because the club backs me. Obviously, every coach is ultimately judged on their results".
"I had my ups and downs in six years as a player at Fiorentina," Pioli concluded. "It’s still a big and difficult game, seeing as Juventus, Napoli, Roma, Milan and Atalanta have all dropped points there. Every fixture is incredibly important for us. We weren’t used to going without a victory for four matches, so getting back to winning ways is vital. There’s still a lot we have to say and do."