Europa League: Inter Milan 'in good shape' to face Celtic

Inter Milan celebrate against Cagliari
Inter Milan beat Cagliari 2-1 on Monday in Serie A
Europa League last 32 second leg: Inter Milan v Celtic
Venue: San Siro, Milan Date: Thursday 26 February Kick-off: 18:00 GMT Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland 810MW/DAB/online; live text commentary on BBC Sport website

Inter Milan are in the "best possible shape" for their Europa League last-32 second leg against Celtic, says manager Roberto Mancini.

The teams are tied at 3-3 ahead of the return leg at the San Siro Stadium.

And Inter recorded their third successive Serie A victory on Monday as they edged Cagliari 2-1.

"We've had the best possible preparation because we're coming off the back of some great performances and results," said coach Mancini.

"We need to try to continue playing as well as we have been recently.

"Obviously, the fewer mistakes we make and the fewer risks we run the better it'll be for the match. We know it's not going to be easy.

"We mustn't let our guard down. We need to be completely focused from now until the final whistle."

Mancini is expecting another battling performance from Celtic, who came from 2-0 down then 3-2 behind to level in Glasgow.

Fredy Guarin celebrates with Mauro Icardi
Fredy Guarin (left) has scored three goals in the last three domestic games

"It's not going to be a simple task," said the former Manchester City manager.

"We need to have total concentration and not give anything away. Celtic are a team that never give an inch.

"The San Siro crowd has always been important - it's down to us to make them want to come to the stadium and cheer on the team."

Mancini, whose side sit eighth in Italy's top flight, played down the effect of a busy schedule of fixtures for his side.

"When I was a player I always preferred playing as many matches as possible," said the former Italy striker.

"We've found a tactical system that we feel comfortable with and it's not easy to change quickly.

"The three wins give us that extra bit of confidence. They're testament to our hard work but the league table still isn't right for a club like Inter. Our aim is to keep growing."

Meanwhile, Colombia midfielder Fredy Guarin, who joined Inter from Porto in 2012 but was linked to Juventus last year, is in high spirits ahead of Celtic's visit having scored three times in three domestic games.

"Things are going well for me at the moment," he said. "The team is getting the best out of me.

"Over the last three years there have been lots of things that have prevented me from playing to the best of my ability but they're in the past.

"Obviously, having the faith of the coaching staff has been very important - for me and for my team-mates.

"You know that if you make a mistake they'll help you to improve.

"I'm delighted that I stayed at Inter. It wasn't an easy decision, but in the end things have turned out well."

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