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Spalletti urges Inter to 'believe in our strength' and end wretched run

Inter boss Luciano Spalletti has urged his players to believe in their own strength as they look to end their wretched run of form in 2018.

The Nerazzurri have won just one of their last 10 matches in all competitions, with last weekend's 2-0 defeat to Genoa allowing Lazio to climb above them into fourth place in Serie A.

Inter's form since December has been in stark contrast to the first half of the season, when they went 17 games unbeaten and showed signs of a surprise Scudetto challenge.

Spalletti wants his side to sustain their discipline for 90 minutes, starting with Saturday's clash with rock-bottom Benevento, and start to believe they can rescue their season.

"The difficulties we have aren't just down to one member of the team," he told a news conference. "We had a good period and then a terrible one. Things went the way they did because that's how we determined them.

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"That means it's us who have to face the problems. If we do it as a team, those problems become smaller.

"We have to believe in our strength. It's a worry for me and for us that we sometimes give things up before the end.

"I've seen something extra this week: a search for new solutions and a willingness to take responsibility, which is the reaction that we all want."

Captain Mauro Icardi has made a welcome return to the squad, having been sidelined since the end of January with a muscle injury, but Spalletti is wary of rushing him back into the starting line-up.

"We want to use him, but it's better not to run the risk of handing him 90 minutes or starting him in a match where we don't know how things will develop," he said. "We'll do the analysis with the doctors and we'll assess him."

Midfielder Rafinha has also been struggling but Spalletti hopes the Barcelona loanee will be available.

"He's had a little muscle problem. We need to assess him," he said of the Brazilian. "There's not a complete answer but he's here and there's a chance we'll use him."