Luciano Spalletti insists Inter Milan have no choice but to go for the win on Sunday when Serie A leaders Napoli visit San Siro.
Inter, who for a good while occupied top spot themselves, have slipped to fifth and are 18 daunting points behind Napoli, who are one point better off than reigning champions Juventus.
Head coach Spalletti may no longer be entertaining thoughts of winning the Scudetto but third place – currently occupied by Roma – is only five points away.
He told inter.it: “We will have to be almost perfect because (Napoli boss Maurizio) Sarri’s team and their way of playing football should be an inspiration for us as we strive to achieve once again.
“What Napoli have done is set an example that will remain part of the history of Italian football.
“For us Inter v Napoli is a fundamental match on our own path because we have not won our recent games.
“We absolutely need a win so we can climb the table and so we will have to play to win this one.”
Spalletti has no real injury concerns, with Napoli arriving in Milan without long-term absentee Faouzi Ghoulam and considering starting with Arkadiusz Milik in their frontline.
The Polish striker returned from a long lay-off when appearing off the bench in Napoli’s 4-2 home defeat by Roma last time out.
That loss sent shock waves around Naples as the city’s team had won their previous 10 league games.
Sarri, who this week was able to celebrate tying midfielder Allan to a long-term contract, is not letting the setback distract him from the main mission of beating Juve to the championship.
He told La Repubblica Sport: “Juventus are going for the Scudetto and we’re doing everything we can to make it difficult for them. We will keep pushing right to the end.”