Juventus remain favourites - Spalletti stays calm as Inter focus on top-four finish
Luciano Spalletti insists Inter aren't getting carried away by the prospect of going top of Serie A ahead of Sunday's home game against Chievo.
With leaders Napoli losing 1-0 at home to champions Juventus on Friday, the Nerazzurri know a victory at the San Siro this weekend will see them leapfrog over both teams to take over at the summit.
Yet the level-headed Spalletti insists talk of a title challenge from Inter is premature, with their target remaining a top-four finish as they aim to secure the chance to play in the Champions League next season.
The former Roma boss believes holders Juve will go on to retain their crown in Italy, despite their manager, Massimiliano Allegri, declaring Napoli as Scudetto favourites after the game at Stadio San Paolo.
"The opportunity is the same as always; every game offers three points, three very important points," Spalletti said at his pre-match press conference.
"When the others win we have to win to keep pace, when the others lose we have to win to pick up three points.
"The expectations are right. We have never pulled back, right from the start. We want to do well, we want to reach the end with the best results we can get.
"It is something [Napoli coach] Maurizio Sarri says often - anyone can win two or three games, but winning for two or three months is a different matter.
"We want to be one of the teams that makes it to the end of the season. We want to be in the top four at the end of the season and we cannot allow anything to disturb us.
"Juventus are favourites. They have the best squad, the best tools. They are the strongest at the moment. Napoli have managed to do well recently, but Juve are the strongest."
| #Spalletti: "It's right that there are expectations. We've not fallen behind. We want to keep moving forward by getting the right results and we want to transmit the passion of this shirt to the fans."#InterChievopic.twitter.com/wX3skEsWch-- Inter (@Inter_en) December 2, 2017
Spalletti called for his players to focus only on overcoming a physical Chievo side, particularly as the hosts will be without suspended duo Roberto Gagliardini and Miranda.
"Chievo has a great characteristic of taking what they deserve in a game. We will need to do well on the wings and try to get our goals that way," he said.
"But off the ball, we will need to clog up the middle. Possession won't be the most important thing - they play very directly, trying to catch you off guard. They don't care who has the most possession.
"We need to think quickly, we need to know what we'll do before we see them. We won't have enough time if we haven't already thought about them. We will have to try and make the best of the situations we can create."
With centre-back Miranda ruled out, Spalletti confirmed Andrea Ranocchia will make his first Serie A start of the season.
"He is quite lucky, because Chievo play directly and that plays into his strengths," the Inter coach added.
"They often look for a knock-on from the strikers with a high, long ball. That suits Ranocchia very well."
| #Spalletti: "We've known the crowd at San Siro well so far, they want the best for Inter and those who play for us. @23_Frog isn't in difficulty, he knows what he's doing and he'll show it through this season."#InterChievopic.twitter.com/0QmyFicRnX-- Inter (@Inter_en) December 2, 2017