The Nerazzurri had looked set for a Serie A title bid as they led the league table in early December, but they are winless since then and have tumbled to third - with Lazio and Roma, both with games in hand, close behind.
While Inter's target now looks to be Champions League qualification, Spalletti is determined not to place too much precedence on this clash with a direct rival.
"It is still early," he explained to a pre-match news conference. "The result of an important game determines a lot in terms of momentum, but there are too many games left.
"Anything can happen. Just look at the league standings in the middle of the season compared to the final table."
And Spalletti was keen to defend his players after their poor recent run, insisting their attitude has never faltered despite the drastic change in fortunes on the pitch.
"Some of the matches we did better, others we were a bit below, but I did not see big changes in the behaviour.
| #Spalletti: "We just need to keep working in the right way to improve. To be a side that can compete for titles, we need to do big things. During the week, you need to work in a certain way." #InterRoma #FCIM pic.twitter.com/qbXhaJPXDq— Inter (@Inter_en) January 20, 2018
"We have always worked with the same ideas, in the same way. We just have to keep working in the right way to grow.
"We are satisfied with our work. We have done a lot of good things and we will see it during the game. Often, working in the right way is more important than working hard."