£10 million starlet using Tottenham display as inspiration

Inter Milan's £10 million January signing is using the second leg win over Tottenham Hotspur in the Europa League as inspiration to turn their season around.

Inter Milan's Massimo Moratti announced this week he contacted Jose Mourinho out of courtesy about rejoining the club this summer. He did not expect anything back and it's doubtful the 'Special One' would return to the San Siro.

The comments had an air of desperation about them, but that's Inter Milan nowadays, a shadow of the team Mourinho led to a treble in 2010, which included the Champions League.

The side were knocked out of the Europa League last month by Spurs, despite thrashing them 4-1 in the second leg.

They exited on away goals, with the 3-0 loss at White Hart Lane proving too much for them to overcome. It was after that match in London that many an obituary for Inter Milan as a footballing power were written.

Their spirited show in the home leg, inspired by Antonio Cassano and Esteban Cambiasso showed the opposite, that this Inter side have plenty to give.

And it is that game which their £10 million January signing Mateo Kovacic is harking back to, to inspire himself and his teammates to finish the season strongly and claim a European place.

Croatian teenager Kovacic, 18, is an impressive young midfielder who had Chelsea after him at one stage - and in Italy has been compared to Andrea Pirlo. He had this to say yesterday: 

"There is no pressure from the transfer fee, I'm happy Inter chose me. It is a time when we are not doing well, but if we play like we did in the second leg against Tottenham we can do it."

The 'it' he is referring to is qualifying for a Europa League place. With just the top three in Italy qualifying for the Champions League next season, a return to Europe's elite competition is out of their reach.

Inter sit on 47 points, 18 behind league leaders Juventus who are nine ahead of second place Napoli. AC Milan are third on 54 points, eight ahead of Inter with nine games remaining.

Reaching fourth or fifth, and a Europa berth is their target, with Fiorentina on 51 points in fourth, Inter are one of three teams tied between fifth and seventh on 47; with Lazio and Roma's goal difference pushing Inter into seventh.

As Serie A resumes following the international break, there is clearly all to play for, even if the title race itself seems a foregone conclusion.

The pressure is really on Inter, as this weekend they face Juventus, and a loss could leave them chasing the pack heading into the final eight games.

Kovacic is right to look back to the Tottenham game, because if Inter do play with the same intensity and passion, they can spring what could be an upset, and inflict a fifth defeat on a Juventus side who went the whole of last season unbeaten.

It was back in November that Inter themselves snapped Juventus' 49-game unbeaten run. The Old Lady will be gunning for revenge, and it promises to be a very interesting contest.

image: © batrax

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