Handanovic hails Inter unity ahead of Udinese trip

Simon Foster 05:43 12/12/2015
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Delight: Samir Handanovic.

Goalkeeper Samir Handanovic believes everyone is “chipping in” at Internazionale as the Serie A leaders prepare for a tricky trip to Udinese on Saturday night.

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Roberto Mancini’s side head to the Stadio Comunale Friuli knowing a win on the road will see them extend their lead at the summit to four points, albeit possibly only for 24 hours.

Nearest rivals Fiorentina are away to resurgent champions Juventus tomorrow, while thirdplaced Napoli – who sit two points back of Inter in the table – face Roma earlier on the same day.

A strong defence has been the foundation to Inter’s success this season, with Gonzalo Higuain’s brace in the 2-1 defeat to Napoli the only goals Handanovic has conceded in their past six league matches.

“We’re at the top of the league because everyone is chipping in, from the goalkeeper to the strikers,” the Slovenia international said. “We look a very compact team from where I’m standing on the goal-line.”

Jeison Murillo and Miranda have formed a solid centre-back pairing in front of Handanovic, with the duo drawing comparisons to a great defensive double act from the club’s recent past.

“I know that some have compared myself and Joao Miranda to Lucio and Walter Samuel, the treble-winning partnership,” Murillo told ANSA.

“Now is the time of Miranda and Murillo, two players who have come to Milan with our characteristics and want to do even better.”

Inter will be without Danilo D’Ambrosio, who is serving a one-match ban after being dismissed in the 1-0 win over Genoa last time out.

Udinese, meanwhile, will be missing Danilo and Felipe dal Belo through suspension. Elsewhere, high-flying Sassuolo host ninth-placed Torino and defender Sime Vrsaljko says his side are “improving every day” but “didn’t expect” to be so high in the table.

The Neroverdi are currently sixth, a point behind champions Juventus and seven away from leaders Inter.

“I didn’t expect to be in this position in the table,” Vrsaljko said. “We have a lot of points, and we want to continue this trend. Sassuolo are improving every day, we want to grow more in the future and see what we can do.

“I want to improve in every way, in every training session I want to push my limits, and in every match I want to do better.”

Two relegation battles see Bologna visit Genoa and Frosinone travel to Palermo. There’s plenty more on the line for Palermo, though, with manager Davide Ballardini rumoured for the chop if his men can’t come away with the win. The 51-year-old is in his second spell at the Sicilian club.

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