The Nerazzurri will qualify for next season’s Champions League if they beat Empoli on the final day of the season
Luciano Spalletti has labelled Inter’s final day Serie A clash with Empoli as a “cup final”, but insisted his players are prepared to deal with the pressure.
The Nerazzurri come into gameweek 38 in fourth place and are primed for Champions League qualification, yet they are just one point ahead of rivals AC Milan.
A win is required at San Siro if Inter are to be sure of a seat at Europe’s top table next season – a position Spalletti’s men have found themselves in before.
Last season they won 3-2 at the Stadio Olimpico on the final day to leapfrog opponents Lazio into fourth.
“There are similarities (to last season),” Spalletti told reporters at his pre-match press conference, “because the match has the same importance.
“This fixture is essentially a knockout game, a cup final, a crucial match, and clearly it becomes the key event of the season. It’s all about getting the result that you need.
“But we are used to the importance of this match, because we work in this industry. It appeared when I used to coach Roma that we played in six finals against Inter, so these situations do tend to crop up on a regular basis.
“I think the team has learned lessons from the last two seasons in terms of the matches that we played. That will help us to prepare for tomorrow night.”
It was pointed out to Spalletti that Inter have not fared well in such must-win fixtures this season, slipping up at home to PSV in the Champions League and Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League.
But he responded: “I am well aware of that, but there are a number of matches in which we played very well.
“I therefore expect my players to be prepared for moments like this, to show all of the different components that they need and that they have displayed in a number of different fixtures.
“My players and I feel very good because, once again, we have the target of qualifying for a second straight Champions League within touching distance.
“We are focused on what we have to do. Our eyes are on the prize, as opposed to what you have reminded us of – namely, the matches we didn’t perform well in.”
As reported by Goal, Spalletti is set to be dismissed in the summer as Inter line up Antonio Conte as his replacement.
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