D’Ambrosio re-signs with Europa-chasing Inter

Milan (AFP) – Inter Milan’s international defender Danilo D’Ambrosio has signed a contract extension that will see him remain with the Serie A giants until 2021.

“I’m very proud to be part of this family, I want to thank the club, the coach Stefano Pioli and above all my teammates,” said 28-year-old D’Ambrosio, who has made 97 appearances since joining in January 2014 and recently earned a call-up to Gian Piero Ventura’s Italy squad.

Inter are sixth in Serie A, two points behind Atalanta in fifth and the league’s second Europa League spot before travelling to relegation-haunted Crotone on Sunday. 

Having seen their Champions League qualifying hopes quashed by a shock 2-1 home defeat to Sampdoria last week, Pioli has called for a “determined response”.

“It was a very disappointing defeat to Sampdoria but our season is far from over. I expect us to transform that disappointment into determination,” Pioli told media on Friday.

A win would maintain Inter’s hopes of returning to the European stage next season and also keep spirits high ahead of hosting AC Milan in the city derby on April 16.

With 56 goals Inter are the fourth highest scorers in the league behind Napoli (69), Roma (66) and Juventus (60). But with 33 conceded, Pioli said the holes in his side’s defensive game must be plugged.

“We have a lot of top players but how we play off the ball is crucial. We’re scoring a lot of goals but we’re now conceding too many as well,” he added. 

“We looked at the mistakes we made last week but we definitely won’t be distracted by next week’s derby. Partly because of the international break, it’s been a month since we’ve tasted victory.

“So it would be a big mistake to underestimate Sunday’s game.”

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