Serie A Preview: Inter v Cagliari
By Football News
Inter can pile further pressure on Cagliari coach Diego Lopez with a third straight Serie A victory, when the sides meet in Milan on Sunday.
Walter Mazzarri's men have been in good form this month, bouncing back from their 3-1 defeat to champions Juventus to record victories over Sassuolo and Fiorentina.
Their latest win saw them close the gap between themselves and Vincenzo Montella's fourth-placed men to five points.
While Fiorentina and Inter currently occupy the two UEFA Europa League spots, the former travel to Parma on Monday, with victory for the hosts keeping them firmly in the hunt for European football.
A win for Inter at San Siro a day earlier would not only boost their hopes of qualifying for Europe's second-tier club competition, it would place even more pressure on Cagliari boss Lopez.
Lopez's days at the Stadio Is Arenas are reported to be numbered, with president Massimo Cellino said to be less than pleased with the club's showing in Serie A this season.
Assistant coach Ivo Pulga, suggested as a likely successor to Lopez, was dismissed this week and the Uruguayan could do with a positive result against high-flying Inter, with the Sardinians having won just one of their last nine Serie A matches.
Cagliari have a reasonable recent record against Inter, avoiding defeat in each of their last four games, although three of these have been draws.
Inter last beat Cagliari in November 2011 thanks to goals from Thiago Motta and Philippe Coutinho, with defender Hugo Campagnaro claiming all of Inter's efforts are now focused on victory this weekend.
After Mazzarri brought in the likes of Hernanes, Ruben Botta and Danilo D'Ambrosio last month, Campagnaro explained to Mediaset: "There has been a lot of competition in the last few weeks above all.
"That's crucial for a team. No one feels they have a right to a starting spot, which is something that helps the team's growth.
"In the dressing room we don't aim for a final objective. Now all our thoughts are on Cagliari."
If Cagliari are to take anything from the game, they will need to arrest the woeful away form they have demonstrated this term.
Lopez's side have failed to win a game on the road all season, scoring just four goals on their way to picking up five from a possible 33 points.
Inter meanwhile have made San Siro something of a fortress - losing just once at home in Serie A.