Eto'o aims to convince Mourinho

Inter striker admits to missing life at Barcelona but targets trophy haul.

    Eto'o has admitted missing life at Barcelona [GALLO/GETTY]
    Despite his nomination for African Footballer of the Year, Samuel Eto'o faces tough competition for the spot of first choice striker at Inter Milan.

    The Cameroon player has only been a partial success at the Italian Serie A leaders since swapping clubs with Barcelona's Zlatan Ibrahimovic in July, and Inter manager Jose Mourinho has made it clear Eto'o must be in top form to make his team.

    Plagued by injuries, a prolonged absence at the Africa Cup of Nations and now facing competition from new signing Goran Pandev, Eto'o is aware that his recent playing opportunities throw up doubts about his chances of facing Chelsea in the Champions League next week.

    "Today it's not easy being one of my forwards given how well the others are doing, Eto'o shouldn't think he has a red carpet waiting for him. He has to be 100 percent physically," Mourinho said recently.


    Pandev has netted three times in Serie A since pairing up with fellow in-form striker Diego Milito, settling in better than Eto'o despite the Cameroonian's eight league goals.

    "I miss the life I had at Barcelona," Eto'o said.

    "But despite these difficulties I am trying to adapt to the reality in Milan," he told World Soccer this week as he was nominated for the African award.

    "To keep winning you have to regard whatever you have already won as history. You must always start from scratch, find the strength to win again. My objective is to win the same trophies I won at Barcelona with Inter."

    Inter's lead over second-placed AS Roma has been whittled down to seven points after two successive draws and fifth-placed Sampdoria visit in good form.

    The Genoa-based side were top at the start of a season, when they beat Inter 1-0 at home, before suffering a poor spell and then recovering with four wins in a row.

    Sampdoria's confidence will however be high after a 2-0 win over Fiorentina in their last match.

    "We are taking it day by day,'' Sampdoria coach Luigi Del Neri said.

    "We didn't aim for the Champions League at the start of the season as that would have put too much pressure on us. Now we have our best players back, but we don't want to look too far ahead.''

    Seeking improvement

    Serie A preview

    Saturday February 20

     Genoa v Udinese
     Inter Milan v Sampdoria

    Sunday February 21

     Atalanta v Chievo
     Bari v AC Milan
     Bologna v Juventus
     Cagliari v Parma
     Fiorentina v Livorno
     Palermo v Lazio
     Roma v Catania
     Siena v Napoli

    After securing the first win of his reign as Juventus coach, Alberto Zaccheroni is expecting further improvement when his side travels to Bologna on Sunday.

    Juventus beat Genoa 3-2 last time out with club captain Alessandro Del Piero scoring a brace after Amauri headed Juventus' first to secure victory in Zaccheroni's third game in charge.

    But, it was a controversial result with Genoa claiming that Sokratis Papastathopoulos' foul on Del Piero that led to the winning penalty took place outside the area.

    "We aren't starting right and we are not concentrating in defence,'' Zaccheroni said.

    "It is one of many problems that we need to resolve.''

    Zaccheroni took over from Ciro Ferrara after Juventus was eliminated from the Italian Cup in late January, and confidence-sapping defeats to AC Milan and AS Roma.

    Midfielder Diego has come in for particular criticism after he lost his early-season form, but Zaccheroni said the entire team needs to improve.

    "He's not at his best, as the others aren't,'' Zaccheroni said.

    "Here we have players who have won a lot, including world champions. But these guys are always under pressure and everyone has an opinion on their mistakes. My job is to make them play their best every game.''

    SOURCE: Agencies


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