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Stramaccioni admits Milan is the favorite

The young trainer conceded Inter's derby opponent is riding high following its Barcelona win, but nevertheless laid down the gauntlet for his team to play without fear.

Inter coach Andrea Stramaccioni has conceded that AC Milan is the team to beat going into the Derby della Madonnina on Sunday.

The Rossoneri's victory over Barcelona in midweek, together with Inter's stuttering league form of late, combine to ensure Massimiliano Allegri's men are popularly touted to win.

But Stramaccioni, who similarly prepared for the crunch tie with a 3-0 triumph away to Cluj in the Europa League, anticipates a reasonably even game to be played out over the course of 90 minutes.

"They've just beaten the best team in the world and we're coming off a period in which we've been inconsistent, so they could be considered favorites," the 37-year-old acknowledged to reporters. "As the Inter coach, that's of no great interest to me however. I could also say that last season we looked like lambs to the slaughter, and then we gave them a hard time.

"You can't deny that [playing in the Europa League] affects you, but I've never been one to look for excuses. Getting your approach right is crucial, and our fans will help us to do that."

Nerazzurri defender Andrea Ranocchia is likely to miss out due to a problem sustained midweek, as an injury crisis continues to ravage the squad.

"When you lose key players, you're forced to rethink a lot of things from a tactical point of view," Stramaccioni continued. "If Ranocchia isn't available, our options are rather limited. I don't even know if I'll have three first-team center backs available, even accounting for those on the bench.

"Every time we've found ourselves getting used to a certain playing system, something has happened to disrupt it. Regardless of how important this game is though, the season doesn't end tomorrow."


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