Inter have bounced back from their horrible start to the season in stunning fashion by embarking on a sensational five-match winning streak which has culminated in them sitting in fifth spot in the Serie A standings.
"Milan are up there, unbeaten in 12 rounds. We respect them a great deal but will aim to beat them. We have prepared for this match, we are in good form and Inter are ready," he told reporters during his press conference.
The former AS Roma and Chelsea tactician also gave an update on the conditions of Dutch playmaker
Wesley Sneijder and Uruguayan goal poacher Diego Forlan.
"I don't know how many minutes Sneijder has in his legs as he hasn't played since November. I am very pleased to see him back, along with Cristian Chivu and Forlan. It's a shame about Dejan Stankovic as he was training well, but today felt pain in the tendon," he added.
"I am certainly not going to complain at having a large squad to choose from. A coach only begins to have problems when he is forced into decisions."
"Is the derby a crossroads? As we already said against Juventus, Napoli and Udinese, the three points are the important thing. We lost three head-to-heads this season and it seemed as if we'd never be able to get back into the race," Ranieri stated.
"If we win, then Milan will lose precious points and start to believe we're back. If we lose then we stay where we are with another 20 matches to climb back up."
Inter are languishing some eights point behind defending champions AC Milan although a victory for the former could propel them back into the top four.