Mancini admits Champions League could be out of reach

The former Manchester City manager’s hopes of achieving Champions League qualification were not high following his side’s disappointing draw with the mid-table battlers

Inter coach Roberto Mancini bemoaned his side’s poor finishing and conceded it is now difficult to qualify for the Champions League following the 1-0 defeat to Genoa.  

Genoa captain Sebastian De Maio scored the only goal of the game in the second half after Inter had spurned several clear-cut opportunities to break the deadlock.

Inter are seven points from third spot and the last remaining Champions League slot in Serie A with four games left after Roma came from behind to beat Torino 3-2.
“The team produced a great performance and we definitely should have won. We had so many chances that we deserved to be 2-0 up by the end of the first half,” Mancini told Mediaset Premium.

“Unfortunately we couldn’t finish on a number of occasions and then we went to sleep for their goal, as has happened several times this season. It was a crazy match.

“It’s never an easy match here. Last season we conceded in the 93rd minute and that was harder on us than we deserved.”

Inter visit Udinese on Saturday and Mancini knows it will be an uphill battle to finish third.

He said: “It was very difficult before and it’s very difficult now. As I’ve said, we need to work hard because we’re struggling to score and we’re not able to score the goals we deserve.”

Icardi open to Inter exit

The striker had previously insisted that he would stay at San Siro this summer but he has now opened the door to a potential exit, should an acceptable bid be tabled

Mauro Icardi has suggested that he could leave Inter this summer.
The striker has been heavily linked with a move away from San Siro this summer, with clubs such as Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal all said to be interested in acquiring his services.
He had been adamant that he would remain in Italy, however, though he has now hinted that he may indeed seek a move.
RUMOURS | Man Utd to reject Ronaldo “Will I stay at Inter if we don’t qualify for the Champions League? I’m here to win with this club, but if any offers come in, then we have got to talk about them with the club or with whoever deals with it,” Icardi told Mediaset.
The striker, who joined Inter from Sampdoria in July 2013, has a contract until June 2019.

He has scored 15 goals in 30 Serie A appearances this campaign.

Inter v Udinese: Icardi to fight for fading top-three hopes

Nerazzurri’s Champions League qualification hopes are fading as they welcome Luigi De Canio’s men, who boast some success against Italy’s topflight big hitters this season

Captain Mauro Icardi wants Inter to keep fighting for Champions League qualification, although he concedes their hopes of a top-three finish in Serie A are increasingly remote ahead of Udinese’s visit to San Siro.
Icardi was a surprise starter following a knock when Roberto Mancini’s team travelled to Genoa on Wednesday, but the Argentina international was unable to fully call upon the form that has secured 15 top-flight goals so far this season in a 1-0 defeat.
That loss left Inter seven points shy of third-place Roma, who secured a Francesco Totti-inspired 3-2 comeback win over Torino on the same evening, leading Mancini to suggest a return to Europe’s premier competition would be “very difficult”.
It is view shared by Icardi, who refused to rule out an Inter exit if they fail to reach the Champions League.
“Third place is almost gone but as long as the maths [say it is possible] we we’ll not exclude it and keep trying,” he told the Inter Channel.
“Fiorentina are two points behind us and we will have to concentrate.
“[At Genoa] we played a great game beyond the result, creating chances but the ball would not go in.
“I had chances. I am a striker and I have to score goals. We are a young team that can improve in many respects.
“We have another game [against Udinese], we have to think to do well.”
Jonathan Biabiany was an unused substitute at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris having also been listed as doubtful by Mancini, while Udinese were buoyed by a 2-1 midweek victory over Fiorentina to ease lingering relegation fears.
READ MORE  | Mancini admits Champions League could be out of reach Goals from Duvan Zapata and Cyril Thereau moved them eight points clear of the bottom three and added another notable scalp in a season where they also hold wins over top two Juventus and Napoli.
“The three points were important to distance ourselves from the relegation zone but our aim is to finish the best we can,” coach Luigi De Canio told Rai Sports.
“My boys deserve a better league position than the one which we currently hold so we will continue to play hard until the end.”
Icardi was on target twice when Inter left Udine with a 4-0 win in December, when Stevan Jovetic and Marcelo Brozovic also scored. 

Montenegro international forward Jovetic has failed to find the net in 14 subsequent Serie A appearances and came on as a late substitute in the Genoa defeat.

Genoa 1-0 Inter: De Maio sinks Mancini's men to blunt Champions League ambitions

The Nerazzurri dropped further behind Roma in the fight for a top-three finish as they fell to a narrow reverse against the mid-table challengers

Inter wasted the opportunity to increase pressure on Roma in the pursuit for the final Champions League spot in Serie A after a 1-0 defeat away to Genoa.
A close-range finish from defender Sebastian De Maio 13 minutes from time left Roberto Mancini’s side frustrated after failing to convert a series of golden chances in the first half.
De Maio was on hand to slam the ball into the roof of the net after a well-directed header from substitute Panagiotis Tachtsidis for his first league goal of the season. 
Inter were left rueing their profligacy in front of goal during a frenetic opening period. Ivan Perisic was twice denied by Genoa goalkeeper Eugenio Lamanna and top scorer Mauro Icardi had a header cleared off the line.
The defeat leaves Inter seven points behind Roma with four games remaining. 
Inter had not won at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris since 2011 and, with Genoa unbeaten in seven home games heading into Wednesday’s match, it was always going to be a tough ask. But on the back of their victory over title-chasing Napoli at the weekend, Inter will feel this was a wasted opportunity to build momentum. Inter started brightly and almost went ahead within the opening five minutes, when Perisic’s looping header was deflected towards goal and acrobatically clawed away by Lamanna just under his crossbar. Marcelo Brozovic fired just over from the rebound.
A flurry of chances came Inter’s way on the half hour, but they could not take advantage of any. First, Icardi’s low header was hacked off the line by Ezequiel Munoz, and then Perisic again drew a smart save from Lamanna when he stooped low at the far post to meet a Brozovic free-kick.
That stirred the home side into action and they almost took the lead themselves when Leonardo Pavoletti met a corner but Samir Handanovic was able to parry. 
Genoa tightened up at the back in the second half, but Inter still carved out good opportunities to break the deadlock. Brozovic breached the offside trap after 65 minutes, but no Inter player could latch onto his low cross across the box.
Genoa edged their way back into the contest, first going close from a quick breakaway and then were rewarded when De Maio broke the deadlock, much to the delight home supporters. 
Tachtsidis’ cushioned headed following a cross from the right found De Maio and he applied an emphatic finish. 
Inter almost salvaged a point right at the death when substitute Eder found half a yard in the area, but his left-footed effort was dragged just wide of the far post.

Appointing Benitez was a mistake – Moratti

The former Inter president has admitted the club should never have chosen the Spanish coach to follow Jose Mourinho at San Siro after they won the Champions League

Former Inter president Massimo Moratti has admitted it was a mistake to replace Jose Mourinho with Rafael Benitez in 2010.

Mourinho had just won the treble with Inter when he departed to join Real Madrid, ending a two-year association with the Italian giants.

And Moratti has admitted he went after the wrong coach, criticising Benitez for the way he tried to distance the club from the memories of the treble-winning season.

“We went after the wrong coach,” Moratti told reporters.

“Benitez was alert and prepared, a great connoisseur of football, but there was a huge difference in terms of his character and how he communicated with club.
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“Benitez felt the weight of wanting to win everything, but asked that everything that happened in the past be forgotten.

“We were afraid to look back and be proud of what we had done.

“We could not celebrate, and so there was no longer the enthusiasm of the previous season.”

Current Newcastle United Benitez was appointed as Inter coach in June 2010 and sacked in December, with the club sitting 13 points off the league leaders.

The Nerazzurri have struggled since but have improved under Roberto Mancini this term. While they currently sit 18 points behind Juventus, they are fighting for Champions League qualification and Moratti is hopeful of bigger and better things under Mancini.

“We believe and we remain hopeful,” Moratti said. “Mancini battled back in England … and he can do it again.”