Mourinho's side told to 'give their all' as qualification beckons

Eric Sylvers
Wednesday 26 November 2008 01:00
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After steering Internazionale to the top of Serie A, Jose Mourinho can now switch his focus to securing a place in the last 16 of the Champions League. Inter host Panathinaikos tonight at the San Siro with the Nerazzurri needing only a draw against the Greek side to advance to the knockout stage with a game to spare.

Inter secured a 1-0 victory over an in-form Juventus on Saturday to solidify their hold on first place in Serie A. The Inter owner Massimo Moratti said: "It's time to give it our all, we absolutely can't let up. Against Panathinaikos I would like to see the Inter of Saturday evening and if that happens I'd be very optimistic about our chances of advancing. We'd like to clinch at home and it would be psychologically important to be able to go to Bremen relaxed."

Inter, with eight points, lead Group B from Anorthosis Famagusta (5), Panathinaikos (4) and Werder Bremen (3). Panathinaikos will make the trip to Milan without the injured Silva Cleyton, Bryce Moon and Sotris Leontiou.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic will lead the Inter attack and is likely to be partnered by Adriano, who returned to the starting line-up against Juventus after being dropped by Mourinho for disciplinary reasons. "I'm happy Adriano has tasted again what it means to be on the field," Moratti said . "He played well against Juventus; actually, he was great."

Ibrahimovic will be looking to transfer his Serie A success to the Champions League. The striker has seven goals in the league this season but has failed to find the back of the net in the Champions League for a year.

After knee problems hampered his form at the end of last season, Ibrahimovic has started all 18 of Inter's games this year. Mourinho has already said he will rest him against Bremen next month if Inter's qualification for the last 16 has been secured.

Mourinho is still getting acquainted with his new squad and has used a different starting line-up in every Inter game this season. Midfielder Patrick Vieira may miss the game tonight due to an Achilles' tendon injury.

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