Experience will serve Inter well in 'cup final' - Spalletti

Luciano Spalletti referred to Inter's last 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 the 38th round of league fixtures in fourth place and primed for Champions League qualification, yet they are just a point ahead of rivals AC Milan.

Victory is therefore required at San Siro if Inter are to be sure of a seat at Europe's top table next season, although Spalletti's men have been here before.

Last season they won 3-2 at the Stadio Olimpico on the final day to leapfrog opponents Lazio and finish fourth.

"There are similarities [to last season] because the match has the same importance," Spalletti told reporters at a pre-match news conference.

"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 matches 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 component parts 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 on the prize, as opposed to what you have reminded us of - namely, the matches we didn't perform well in."

Spalletti is reportedly set to be replaced by Antonio Conte, while several Inter players are also said to be nearing exits in the close season.

But the coach backed the Nerazzurri to prove their worth, adding: "I think an awful lot of players deserve to remain at the club and you will see that tomorrow night."

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