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Ranieri expecting response against Russians
Inter Milan coach Claudio Ranieri says he is expecting a response from his team when they host CSKA Moscow in the Champions League on Wednesday night.
Inter have already qualified as Group B winners but need to bounce back following Saturday's 1-0 defeat at home to Udinese that left them still languishing down in 16th place in the league.
Their European form has largely been good but domestically they have consistently struggled, losing six and winning only four of their first 12 matches.
Although it has not happened so far, Ranieri is still hopeful that a positive result in the Champions League could help spark the team into life in the scudetto race.
"Now we have to give a response to ourselves, to the club and to the fans," said the former Juventus, Chelsea and Valencia coach.
"We got a real kick in the teeth on Saturday. I was convinced that we would play well and get a positive result but that didn't happen.
"But we'll never let up. We've worked really hard so far and we'll work even harder now to point the boat back in the right direction.
"As you all know it's not an easy year but we'll get there, I'm sure of that."
That is not the only reason Ranieri wants his team to go out and beat CSKA, even though the result will have no bearing on Inter.
He is looking at the bigger picture and Italy's UEFA coefficient ranking, as recent poor results have seen them lose a place in the Champions League next season to Germany.
"It can seem a strange game but that's not the case -- I want it," he said.
"I want it because when I arrived here we had no points and when we went to Moscow we were playing for our Champions League future.
"The lads have played well in a very even group in which we've managed to distance ourselves from the others, who are playing for second place and a future in the Europa League.
"Winning tomorrow (Wednesday) will mean putting some money in the bank for my club and also maintaining a certain UEFA ranking, which is very important because we're losing points, important points, and if we don't think about that, we'll lose teams in both the Champions League and Europa League.
"We have to be very professional and that's what I told the team when I spoke to them today.
"We have the stress of the (last) result but also a big motivation, which is to respond to ourselves and show what we want and know how to do.
"We're coming off a defeat, whether deserved or not, but I want to see players who know how to react. I expect a great game from us."
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