Parma-Inter Preview: Europa League hopefuls go head to head at the Tardini

Inter can take a huge step to securing Europa League football for next season by taking three points from Saturday’s trip to Parma.

With neither side boasting particularly impressive records in Serie A of late, they go into the fixture at the Stadio Ennio Tardini separated by just two points.

The hosts are on course to secure European football through a sixth-place finish, thanks to Napoli and Fiorentina contesting the Coppa Italia final.

However, while they may look to reel in Inter, Roberto Donadoni will also be wary of a trio of teams beneath Parma who all have 48 points and could sneak into Europe at his side’s expense.

If Inter can build on their 4-0 victory at Sampdoria last time out, they could move five points clear of sixth place going into the final four games of the season and, with further investment in the squad expected over the close-season, European football could prove a useful bargaining tool for owner Erick Thohir.

Inter’s current crop will likely have their work cut out at the Tardini, though – even against an out-of-form Parma side.

Despite taking just four points from a possible 15, much of Parma’s successful season has been built on their home form.

Just two of their eight league defeats this season have come on home turf – against leaders Juventus and second-placed Roma – while Inter have failed to win on their last four trips to the Tardini.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice in their last awway win over Parma in 2008 but defender Andrea Ranocchia believes last weekend’s dominant win over Sampdoria can give them added impetus to end that run.

“It’s crucial that Inter qualify for the Europa League,” he said this week.

“(The) win in Genoa was very important. We played a match in a difficult stadium and things immediately went in our favour. We did well to take home the three points.”

After a strong start to 2014 that saw them go 11 Serie A games unbeaten, Parma’s form has dipped of late and they needed a late Raffaele Palladino goal to secure a point against Bologna last time out.

Donadoni feels the fact his team are in contention for a European spot represents progression following their 10th-place finish last term.

“I don’t think at the beginning of the season we could have thought of this,” the former Italy international told the club’s official website.

“Inter have a different expectation from ours and a potential which is not comparable to Parma.

“This means that our players have done something extraordinary. We will play as we have always done.”

Inter will be without the suspended Ranocchia but neither side have fresh injury concerns following last weekend’s action.

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