Inter hope for redemption

“Inter is in trouble,’’ Marseille assistant coach Guy Stephan said.

Written by Associated Press | Published:February 22, 2012 1:18 am

The pressure is mounting on Inter Milan coach Claudio Ranieri to get a win in Wednesday’s Champions League match at Marseille. After drifting out of contention in the Italian title race and out of the Italian Cup,Inter’s thinning trophy hopes rest firmly with the Champions League. And only a positive result at Stade Velodrome will appease animosity toward Ranieri.

Inter fans protested during and after Friday’s 3-0 loss to Bologna,chanting for 2010 treble-winning coach Jose Mourinho,and Marseille senses the Italian club is there for the taking.

“Inter is in trouble,’’ Marseille assistant coach Guy Stephan said. “I get the impression there isn’t too much unity in the team,that there isn’t a great atmosphere. But you have to be wary,as there are some top-level players at Inter.’’

Inter’s nosedive is in contrast to Marseille’s impressive run of form. Although Marseille dropped points in Saturday’s 1-1 home draw with Valenciennes,its unbeaten run was extended to 15 games. The only drawback for Marseille is that striker Loic Remy will miss the game because of a thigh injury.

Remy has been one of Marseille’s best players this season,scoring 17 goals in all competitions and forming an impressive partnership with winger Mathieu Valbuena,who has set up several of his France teammate’s goals. Marseille was boosted with the news that midfielder Alou Diarra was set to resume training on Tuesday after picking up a toe injury on Saturday.

“It doesn’t look too serious,’’ Stephan said. “Hopefully he will be able to play.’’

Striker Diego Milito and midfielder Dejan Stankovic are back for Inter after missing the Bologna game with the flu. Meanwhile,Uruguay striker Diego Forlan is set to make his European debut for Inter after he was ineligible for the group stage.

Inter clearly needs Forlan,having struggled for goals recently. Milito is the only Inter player to have scored in the last six games,and all those came in one match: a 4-4 draw at home to Palermo earlier this month which exposed Inter’s frailty at the back.

Inter has conceded 15 goals in the last six games,a glaring weakness that gives Marseille hope of getting a couple of goals to take to the San Siro for the return leg in three weeks’ time.

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