Serie A Preview: Inter v Roma

Rudi Garcia's team repeated a frustratingly familiar theme of their campaign last time out, drawing 1-1 with Atalanta at the Stadio Olimpico after German Denis' penalty cancelled out a third-minute spot-kick from Francesco Totti.

It was Roma's second consecutive stalemate and their 10th draw in 15 Serie A games since the turn of the year.

Napoli lie five points back in fourth with seven games remaining and further dropped points this weekend would leave the capital club in an increasingly uncomfortable position having already fallen behind city rivals Lazio on goal difference.

Nevertheless, Roma find themselves in a somewhat enviable situation compared to Inter, who lie 10th in the standings as they play out the final exchanges of a fourth consecutive trophyless season.

Victory is a must for Roberto Mancini's men if they are to stoke their dwindling hopes of UEFA Europa League qualification.

Last weekend's goalless draw against bitter rivals Milan added a further layer of frustration, although the fact it was only their fifth home clean sheet of the Serie A campaign pointed to where the true problems lie for Mancini - a man previously synonymous with turning out miserly defensive units during his coaching career.

Like Mancini, Davide Santon has returned for a second spell with Inter this term and the full-back offered backing to his coach.

"The manager is a lovely man," Santon told SportMediaset. "He talks to the players a lot and he's won things wherever he's been. I think he's the right man to take us forward."

"We're still trying to gel, a lot of new players have come in and the team is completely different to the Inter side I played in four years ago. We're trying to give the team a new identity and the coach is working on that too."

Chile international Gary Medel is unavailable to Mancini due to yellow-card accumulation, although Fredy Guarin and Marcelo Brozovic return from disciplinary indiscretions of their own.

Roma defender Davide Astori is suspended, with Kostas Manolas poised to take his place at centre-back.

Midfielder Miralem Pjanic is back in training having missed the Atalanta match and could return to the Roma engine room alongside Daniele De Rossi (back), although Gervinho (hamstring) is set to remain on the sidelines.

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