MX23RW : Wednesday, November 21 14:42:10

Spalletti wants Inter to prove their level against Barcelona

Spalletti wants Inter to prove their level against Barcelona
© Reuters
Lionel Messi may return from injury for Champions League clash at the San Siro.

Inter Milan coach Luciano Spalletti wants his side to prove they can beat anyone by coming out on top against Champions League rivals Barcelona on Tuesday night.

Despite losing 2-0 to the LaLiga giants at the Nou Camp a fortnight ago, Inter go into the return fixture knowing a win this time around could be enough to seal progression from Group B.

Spalletti's side have won nine of their last 10 games in all competitions with Barca the only team to get the better of them during that time.

They sit second in Serie A and, with a place in the knockout stages potentially in their grasp, Spalletti has called on Inter to prove themselves against the best in the business.

"We've always said that we can play against any opponent," he told reporters.

"The fact that the team is doing well, in terms of performance and results, demonstrates that this is the chance to see if we really can compete against any side. Barcelona represents the highest level of difficulty that there is."

"Barcelona have also shown that they are one of the best clubs in the world. During the first game, we didn't manage to keep the ball well enough to turn the game around.

"Tomorrow, we must do better in regaining possession because they don't like it when the opposition has the ball.

"We must demonstrate character and quality because space will become stretched."

Inter's task may be made slightly easier if Lionel Messi remains sidelined for the visitors.

Messi fractured his arm against Sevilla on October 20 but has returned to training sooner than originally anticipated.

The 31-year-old has travelled with his team-mates to Italy – but Barca coach Ernesto Valverde insists he will not take any risks over the fitness of his star player.

"I have many options," Valverde replied when asked about whether Messi would feature.

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde will make a late decision on whether to include Lionel Messi in his team to face Inter.
Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde will make a late decision on whether to include Lionel Messi in his team to face Inter. (Nick Potts/PA)

"I cannot anticipate anything because we have not trained yet, but I am sure that we will not take any risks.

"I think it's better that he's in. I have the feeling that we'll go with him, but of course he needs to recover as soon as possible.

"Leo is at that point where he can be available, we'll see what he feels, he has to have that security point to play."


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Lucas Moura celebrates with Harry Kane after scoring Tottenham Hotspur's second goal against Wolverhampton Wanderers on November 3, 2018
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Barcelona1273234181624
2Sevilla1272324141023
3Atletico MadridAtletico12651168823
4AlavesAlaves127231712523
5Espanyol126331610621
6Real Madrid126242016420
7Real Valladolid1245399017
8Levante125251819-117
9GironaGirona124531314-117
10Real Sociedad124441514116
11Getafe124441110116
12Real Betis124441215-316
13EibarEibar124351218-615
14Celta Vigo123542220214
15Valencia1228289-114
16Villarreal122551113-211
17Athletic Bilbao121741319-610
18Leganes12246916-710
19Rayo Vallecano121471425-117
20Huesca121381025-156

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