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Roberto Mancini on Lazio, Dani Osvaldo and Palacio's fitness level


Roberto Mancini says Internazionale should expect a tough game when they host Lazio this weekend.

The Nerazzurri will be looking to continue their good form after last week's win away at Chievo but will be without striker Dani Osvaldo who was granted compassionate leave after the loss of his father-in-law.

"They [Lazio] are enjoying a nice spell, it will be very tough [on Sunday] because they are playing well," Mancini said.

"[This week everything went] really well, the lads are improving, they were already in good shape last week and the win away at Chievo did a lot of good.

"Hernanes is improving but he's not 90-minute fit yet. He can feature in the second half.

"I'm sorry [Dani] Osvaldo is missing, but has to take care of personal matters, we can do nothing about it."

Asked if the third place is the team's objective for the season, Mancini said: "There's still a long way to go in the championship.

"Our objective is to qualify for the Champions League but we'll see at the end where we'll be. We can aim for the third place, I'm convinced of it, but we still have to improve."

Meanwhile, Mancini confirmed that striker Rodrigo Palacio is expected to start in attack again despite carrying an ankle problem.

"I would have surely given him a rest if we had more strikers available," the Italian added.

"But his ankle problem is improving. He will of course take full advantage of the upcoming Christmas holidays."

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Dani Osvaldo, Roberto Mancini, Rodrigo Palacio