Milito hopes winner will mark end of nightmare

Inter Milan striker Diego Milito, publicly criticised by his club president last week for his ability to conjure up unbelievable misses, hopes Wednesday's winner against Lille will finally end his nightmare period.

Since scoring 30 goals in Inter's treble winning campaign two seasons ago, Milito has been plagued by injuries and his form and confidence have suffered with it.

He hit the net only eight times last season and, despite the departure of Samuel Eto'o, began this term down the pecking order behind new signings Diego Forlan and Mauro Zarate.

Last week, club president Massimo Moratti singled out the 32-year-old for criticism following a miss against Atalanta that according to newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport "defied the laws of physics."

"We were missing something in attack. I don't think [Milito] was in great form," Moratti said.

Having missed another sitter at the start of the second half on Wednesday, Milito finally hit the target midway through the period, thanks largely to an inspired run by his captain Javier Zanetti.

"Setting up his goal was like scoring myself," said 38-year-old Zanetti, after Inter's Champions League 2-1 win.

"Strikers get periods like this, periods when you do everything right and others when you can't do anything properly, but Diego is working so hard for the team, he makes sacrifices and he deserved this goal.

Milito, scorer of both goals in the 2010 Champions League final win over Bayern Munich, said: "I sincerely hope that with this goal my bad spell is now behind me and they'll start coming for me again.

"You have to know how to keep calm, keep your nerve and make sure you don't get too affected by it because it can mess you up," added Milito, described as the symbol of his team's win by coach Claudio Ranieri.

Ranieri is now hoping that Inter, who have won their last three Champions League games and top Group B, can carry their European form into Serie A, where they are languishing in 17th place with only two wins in nine games.

The former Chelsea, Juventus and AS Roma coach, the fourth man to occupy the host seat at Inter since Jose Mourinho's departure in mid 2010, said Wednesday's performance had convinced him that he had the right squad.

"This side has its pride and its feelings," said Ranieri, whose side must bounce back from last Saturday's home defeat against Juventus when they visit Genoa on Sunday.

"They fought hard and it's not true that they fight harder in Europe than in the league: at the moment a "yes-no" ball becomes a "yes" ball in the Champions League, but it will soon be like that in the league too.

"We must carry the good things we're doing in Europe back into Serie A and get a run of results going."