Inter Milan vs Lazio preview - Zanetti sets final European target

Posted Friday, May 09, 2014 by PA

Inter Milan captain Javier Zanetti wants to retire knowing that the Nerazzurri will play European football next season.

The Argentinian defender will play his final game at the San Siro on Saturday against Lazio before halting his 22-year career at the end of the campaign.

"I will feel a lot of emotion inside me," the 40-year-old Zanetti said. "My gratitude goes to Inter and the Moratti family that believed in me when I was an unknown player.

"I am proud to have worn the Nerazzurri colours for 19 years and to have been the captain of this team."

Zanetti hopes Inter can end a disappointing season on the right path.

Last weekend's 1-0 defeat at AC Milan left Inter still needing to deliver in their final two games in order guarantee themselves Europa League qualification.

The Nerazzurri, coached by Walter Mazzarri, are fifth in the standings, two points clear of nearest rivals Torino.

"Unfortunately we didn't win the derby and we didn't play well," Zanetti said. "Now we must approach our final two games in the right manner.

"The fact that everything is still in our hands is crucial and we will do everything we can to beat Lazio and Chievo.

"We must reach our aim of Europa League qualification."

Mid-table Lazio travel to Milan still in mathematical contention for a place in next season's Europa League.

However, it would take an unlikely series of results for the capital city club to make it.

Lazio held Hellas Verona to a 3-3 draw last time out and are two points behind Torino, who hold the last European qualifying spot.

"I told my players they must believe in the Europa League," Lazio coach Edy Reja said. "We've got to go to the San Siro with the right mentality and conviction.

"I look at my players and I get the impression that they want to play the game of their lives at Inter."

The visitors will not be at full strength, with goalkeeper Federico Marchetti, defenders Stefan Radu and Abdoulay Konko as well as striker Helder Postiga all sidelined through injuries.

Midfielder Senad Lulic must serve a one-match ban.

Etrit Berisha will replace Marchetti in goal.

Inter will be without injured defender Juan Jesus and suspended midfielder Esteban Cambiasso.

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