Inter’s Premier League new boys settling nerves before derby showdown

MILAN (AFP) – Antonio Conte’s new Premier League recruits have been settling nerves at title-chasing Inter Milan who travel to Udinese tomorrow night looking to end a three-match Serie A winless run before their derby clash against city rivals AC Milan.

Inter have brought in Christian Eriksen, Ashley Young and Victor Moses to keep the pressure on leaders Juventus as the Chinese-owned club target a first Scudetto since 2010.

The pace of the season had taken its toll, however, and Inter are on a run of three consecutive 1-1 league draws against Atalanta, Lecce and Cagliari.

Lautaro Martinez was given a two-match ban for his late sending off against the Sardinians, and will miss tomorrow’s game in Udine and the derby against AC Milan the following weekend.

Conte’s side are three points behind eight-time reigning champions Juventus, who slipped up last weekend with a 2-1 defeat at Napoli. But they have recruited Tottenham midfielder Eriksen, 27, Nigerian Moses, 29, on loan from Chelsea and defender Young from Manchester United.

File photo shows Inter Milan’s Ashley Young celebrating with teammates Nicolo Barella and Christian Eriksen. PHOTO: AP

The trio have already helped Inter reach the Italian Cup semi-final with a win over Fiorentina at the San Siro midweek.

“When this opportunity came up I took it right away,” Young, 34, told Sky Sports Italia.

“Along with Eriksen and Moses we come from the Premier League and this is an opportunity to experience something different, both as a game and lifestyle.

“It’s important for a player to face new challenges.”

Former Chelsea boss Conte had already signed Romelu Lukaku from United last summer and also have Alexis Sanchez on loan from the club.

“He’s a fantastic coach, he has won trophies, he has the ambition to win again and I also want to do it here,” added Young.

Eighth-placed AC Milan host Hellas Verona, two points below in ninth, on the cusp of a Zlatan Ibrahimovic-inspired revival.

Milan have taken 10 points in four games since Ibrahimovic’s return to the club this month, and the Swede scored during the week to book a place in the Italian Cup semi-final.

Juventus missed the chance to open up a six-point lead at the top of the table with their shock defeat to coach Maurizio Sarri’s struggling former club Napoli.

The Turin giants host 13th-placed Fiorentina, who held them to a goalless draw in Tuscany last September.

Lazio have a chance to close the gap as they are just five points behind Juventus and two adrift of Inter, before hosting struggling SPAL.

Lazio’s 11-match winning streak ended in last weekend’s derby draw to Roma, but Simone Inzaghi’s side have a game in hand.