Coppa Italia Preview: Inter v Sampdoria
Sunday's goalless draw with Empoli has led Roberto Mancini to demand improvements from his Inter side ahead of their Coppa Italia last-16 clash with Sampdoria on Wednesday.
Inter are now six games unbeaten in all competitions, but were held to a frustrating stalemate by Serie A strugglers Empoli at the Stadio Carlo Castellani.
Despite Mancini overseeing steady progress since his return to the helm in mid-November, Inter sit five points off the European places, although a Coppa success would ensure they remain in continental competition next term regardless of where they finish in the league.
A potential Milan derby also remains on the cards in the semi-final stages, with Mancini keen to see his players produce a better performance if they are to see off high-flying Sampdoria at San Siro.
"I think we all need to give a bit more. We have to start building from the back and we also need to be brave enough to take risks because we are Inter and we can't not do that," he told reporters.
"We're doing some things well and other things less well. I felt we could have done better [against Empoli].
"We have to show the personality we had at home when we play away as well – like we did [in the 1-1 draw] at Juventus.
"Are we lacking a bit of energy ourselves? Not all of our players are fully fit so yes that's something we need to work on."
Mancini has handed debuts to January signings Xherdan Shaqiri and Lukas Podolski since they arrived in Milan, although opposite number Sinisa Mihajlovic appears unlikely to be able to do the same with Samuel Eto'o on Wednesday against his former club.
The Everton striker is close to agreeing a move to Sampdoria, according to club president Massimo Ferrero, but time is running out to complete a deal in time for the Cameroonian to face Inter.
The four-time African Player of the Year would add further quality to a side fourth in Serie A, with Mihajlovic delighted at how his charges have fared this season.
"We are having a great season," he told a news conference following Sunday's 2-0 win over Parma.
"We have 33 points and only two losses. What rating would I give the first round [of the season]? Seven and a half.
"My players are committed all week, they are players and men who give everything - even those who do not play.
"Everyone will train with great intensity and behave well. Then I'll decide who to play, based on those who have given me more."