Claudio Ranieri praises Cagliari for ‘never giving in’ after their comeback to hold Inter 2-2 and explains why he made a tactical change after 25 minutes.

It has become clear over the last few rounds that the battle to avoid relegation is every bit as motivating as the race for Europe or even the Scudetto.

Sassuolo held Milan to a 3-3 draw earlier this afternoon and Cagliari matched them this evening by twice fighting back to hold Inter 2-2 at San Siro.

“We have to keep going like this, especially as Juventus are coming up. We did well to stay in the game and get the draw,” Ranieri told DAZN.

“This point is worth its weight in gold, we had Atalanta and Inter in a row, there was the risk of picking up zero points.”

Instead, they beat Atalanta 2-1 and earned this 2-2 draw at San Siro.

“I told the lads we had to create chances, stay in the game and then incidents can make the difference. The team played with motivation, pushed at the right time and was always focused.”

It did not start well for the Sardinians, as shown by Ranieri substituting Jakub Jankto for tactical reasons after just 25 minutes.

“I am sorry for Jankto, he was playing well, but I needed another type of midfielder, as Sulemana and Makoumbou were being overworked. With a playmaker, they were able to divide up the midfield better. We were getting run through too easily there, I could not wait and let my players suffer like that.

“There was a risk involved in the change, I knew the problems I had to deal with. Dossena was on a yellow card and risked a ban. Mina can barely train as he has a thousand little issues, so I rested Dossena instead. If Mina plays, he needs two quick defenders by his side to cover him.”

Cagliari have shown many times this season – and with their promotion from Serie B in the play-offs – that they can never be counted out in a comeback.

“The strength of my players is that they never give in. They give everything for the team, for the people of the island and know the scales can be tipped by many little situations.”

This result keeps Cagliari four points clear of the relegation zone and they have lost only one of their last eight games.

“At my age, I don’t need to take credit for anything! The lads evidently believe in me and work hard, that is the most important thing.”

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