Inter players deserve Champions League football, insists Spalletti

A victory over Lazio is required to claim a top four place, but the club's manager feels his side are worthy after showing resilience this season

Luciano Spalletti thinks Inter have earned to right to Champions League football as they prepare for Sunday's crucial Serie A showdown with Lazio.

A win at the Stadio Olimpico will see Inter leapfrog Simone Inzaghi's side into fourth place in the table, while any other result will hand the capital club the coveted spot.

A run of eight games without a win in the middle of the season derailed Inter's title challenge, but a return to Europe's top competition for the first time since 2011-12 will largely make the season a success.

Spalletti does not think they necessarily deserve a top-four finish more than Lazio but he would consider it just reward for his players' efforts this season.

"No one can say who deserves it more," he told a news conference. "We have hit the woodwork 13 times more than Lazio, and my team has been able to react at an important moment and put the league campaign back on track.

"There are many aspects to take into consideration. I say that my players deserve it. I've seen so many matches where we deserved more."

Turning to the showdown, the manager outlined what his side needs to do in order to secure the three points needed to secure Champions League qualification. 

"Inter must be aggressive but without losing balance because Lazio are brilliant at playing directly with how they win the ball back and with their pace. We'll have to be very alert to these situations.

"Everything matters in matches such as this one: character, mental strength, balance, awareness of your own and the opponent's abilities."

Regardless of Sunday's result, Spalletti is confident Inter will not see their best players look to leave San Siro before next season.

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The 59-year-old is also feeling relaxed about his own future at the club.

"The whole group knows they can do great things together," he said. "Inter can achieve things and make the fans truly happy. Nobody wants to leave.

"I really enjoy being here at Inter, I'm totally focused on what we're doing. My contract is absolutely not an issue."

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