Inter must beat surprise package Atalanta, says Pioli

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Inter head coach Stefano Pioli has identified Sunday's Serie A match against Atalanta as a must-win encounter.

Fifth plays sixth at San Siro on Sunday, with surprise package Atalanta the better off of the two in that equation.

Gian Piero Gasperini's side are a point ahead of Inter, who returned to winning ways after defeat at home to Roma with a resounding 5-1 victory at Cagliari last weekend.

"This is a very important match and one we have to win," Pioli said at a pre-match news conference.

"We're up against an excellent side but we're in good form ourselves and we've prepared very well for it. We'll put everything we have into it.

"It's always up to us. We're capable of producing top-level performances and how we play depends on us.

"We'll be playing in front of our fans and we want to give everything we have. We want to beat Atalanta.

"Atalanta are a solid outfit with great players - they're definitely the surprise package this season. Gasperini has done a brilliant job and they deserve respect.

"Considering our objectives and the pressures on us, we certainly can't play with a relaxed attitude."

Midfielder Roberto Gagliardini joined Inter from Atalanta in January and Pioli conceded he has sought out some insider information.

"Whenever we face opponents, we have players who know their characteristics or their coach, so I certainly spoke to Gagliardini and Rodrigo Palacio, who worked with Gasperini for a few years at Genoa," he explained.

"What counts is our working method to study the opposition and have the solutions to cause our opponents problems.

"Would I take another Atalanta player? I am so impressed by my own that I'll gladly focus on the Inter squad."