(Reuters) – Inter Milan will need to show character to beat a Juventus side stung by their Champions League exit, manager Simone Inzaghi said on Saturday.
Eighth-placed Juve trail sixth-placed Inter by just two points, with both sides in need of win in Turin on Sunday to stay on the trail of leaders Napoli.
Inter and Juve head into the game on the back of contrasting Champions League group-stage campaigns.
Inzaghi’s Inter booked their spot in the last 16 after coming through a group that also included Bayern Munich and Barcelona, with the LaLiga side failing to make it into the knockouts.
Juve, on the other hand, were knocked out after a third-placed finish in their group and will drop into February’s playoffs for a spot in the Europa League.
“We know that it is a team which has been knocked out of the Champions League, they will be even more dangerous,” Inzaghi told reporters.
“We need to play an excellent match with speed, quality and focus. We will also need a lot of character because we will find a stadium on fire,” he added, with a raucous atmosphere expected in Turin.
Inzaghi said Inter and Juve share some similarities, as both sides are recovering from a poor start to the season and have won four out of their last five Serie A matches.
“We know what the match means, it is Italy’s derby and is a match which fans and the club feel strongly about. We know we are facing a rival in good health,” he said.
Inter will be without the services of Belgian forward Romelu Lukaku, whose return to action was cut short by a new injury.
“My wish is to finish these three matches (before the World Cup break) in the best possible way and come back in January with everyone at our disposal, something which has never happened this year,” Inzaghi added.
Juve have been riddled with injuries throughout the season and boss Massimiliano Allegri will not be able to call on Paul Pogba, with the France midfielder set to miss the World Cup after failing to recover from knee surgery in time.
“We know the strength of this team, which suffered a lot of injuries but showed a lot of quality through the young (players). We have respect, not fear,” Inzaghi said.
(Reporting by Silvia Recchimuzzi in Gdansk; Editing by Toby Davis)