Fiorentina coach Paulo Sousa said Inter Milan’s “quality” side won’t intimidate La Viola when they visit the San Siro on Sunday aiming to end the Nerazzurri’s perfect start to the season.
Inter have won their opening five games of the fledgling Serie A campaign thanks largely to a reinforced midfield and a miserly defence that has conceded only one goal so far.
Having lost just once, Fiorentina sit three points behind in second place and, while they have conceded only three times, Sousa’s men have quickly built a reputation for producing a more free-flowing, attacking brand of football.
Their top-of-the-table clash should be the pick of the weekend’s fixtures but while Sousa, who spent two years at Inter in his playing days, is full of admiration for Robero Mancini’s side he expects Fiorentina to rise to the occasion.
“The Nerazzurri are up there at the top of the table because they have quality and exprience, and that includes the coach,” Sousa said Saturday.
“Inter have a rich culture and history, and all of that helps when you’re out fighting for results. This season they have a squad of players that should be fighting for the scudetto.
“Our strength lies in our unity and we always go out to win, no matter who the opponents. We believe we can compete with teams that, on paper, are stronger than us.”
Inter were last crowned Italian champions in 2010 when then coach Jose Mourinho led them to an unprecedented treble of Serie A, the Coppa Italia and the Champions League.
Having failed to qualify for Europe this season, Mancini’s men are on a mission to make amends and look to have stolen a march on potential rivals like Roma and defending champions Juventus.
Roma are ninth, seven points adrift, ahead of their Saturday fixture at home to Carpi while Juventus — who travel to Napoli later in the day — are 13th and a further three points off the pace.
It has given Inter some breathing space at the top, but on Sunday Sousa believes it is the Nerazzurri who will be under more pressure.
“Without a doubt, Inter,” he said. “But I don’t think that will necessarily help us. Every game is important and this one is no different.” – Agence France-Presse