Marotta: ‘Inter gain belief, Zielinski an opportunity’

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Inter director Beppe Marotta explains how tonight’s Scudetto showdown with Juventus could change the title race going forward and effectively confirms Piotr Zielinski will join from Napoli.

It kicks off at San Siro at 19.45 GMT.

You can follow all the build-up and action as it happens from today’s four Serie A games on the LIVEBLOG.

The Nerazzurri are only one point clear at the top of the table, but have a game in hand to be played against Atalanta on February 28.

“This counts for a lot, but not everything. It is the Derby d’Italia, a meeting between two very strong teams. It is an important test that will give us responses from a convincing performance. That could generate even more self-esteem, but there are many games and points up for grabs.

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“As we have often seen, the so-called ‘provincial’ teams can be dangerous and take points away when least expected.”

It has been said that reaching the Champions League Final last season really gave Inter a sense of belief in themselves that had not been there before.

“That certainly gave this group more confidence, as many of them had never experienced this kind of level before. It is important to keep the bar high, but as I always say, it is important not to be arrogant, but to be ambitious.

“Of course Inter must challenge for important trophies and must not rest on our laurels. If the other teams do better, we tip our hat to them.”

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Napoli effectively confirmed this week that Piotr Zielinski will leave them as a free agent to join Inter in the summer.

“We will have even more competitions next season, as Inter have qualified for the Club World Cup, so we are seeking an increasingly competitive squad with first choices and co-first choices.

“Opportunities like Zielinski or other players are something we must follow. We’ll see if we manage to register him, but he has the skills we are looking for.”

Meanwhile, there are still negotiations to extend the contract with Lautaro Martinez, which his agent continues to assure is not going to be an issue.

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“We stopped recently because of the busy period, but will resume talks calmly. It takes time, but the rapport is splendid and I don’t see any excessive concerns.”

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