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Mancini backs Icardi to keep improving

The 23-year-old has enjoyed a fruitful season this term and scored his 15th Serie A goal on Saturday, but the former Manchester City manager insists he still has room to improve

Inter coach Roberto Mancini has backed Mauro Icardi to keep on improving after the captain made a match-winning contribution in Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Napoli.

Icardi opened the scoring in the fourth minute with a clinical finish after brilliantly controlling Gary Medel’s long ball, and then laid on the assist for Marcelo Brozovic to make it 2-0 at San Siro on Saturday as Inter dented Napoli’s hopes of catching Serie A leaders Juventus.

The Argentina striker now has four goals in five matches and took his tally to 15 in the league for the season, but Mancini insists the 23-year-old still has plenty of room to develop.

“Players can keep improving even at 31, so Mauro can work at his game and get better,” he told Mediaset premium. 

Icardi linked well with fellow forward Stevan Jovetic, but Mancini feels that their partnership could have proved more fruitful this season.
READ MORE  | Icardi & Brozovic earn Inter victory

“I think they could have done better at certain times because they are players who can play together for the different characteristics they have,” he added.

“There were moments this season in which they could do much better. Against Napoli they did very well at times, other times not so much but this can happen.”

Inter’s win means they move to within three points of third-placed Roma, who play Atalanta on Sunday, but Mancini believes Champions League qualification is still a long shot for his side.

“I do not know if we can get third, there are points available,” he said. “We do not have many chances but as long as there are points available you have to fight then we’ll see at the end.

“I don’t think we’ve got much of a chance, but we have to keep trying and will see where we are on May 15.”

Thiago Silva deserves Brazil place, says Miranda

The Paris Saint-Germain defender has not been called up since conceding a crucial penalty in the quarter-final defeat to Paraguay at last year’s Copa America
Paris Saint-Germain captain Thiago Silva deserves a recall to the Brazil squad, according to fellow centre-back Miranda.

The former Selecao skipper was injured for the early part of Dunga’s latest spell as head coach and has subsequently struggled to force his way back into the international reckoning.

Silva was included in the Copa America squad last year, but has not been called up since conceding a crucial penalty in the quarter-final defeat to Paraguay, despite some exemplary form at the heart of PSG’s defence this season.
READ MORE  | Thiago Silva irked by PSG’s Champions League exit

But Miranda believes Silva, alongside his fellow Brazilian PSG team-mates David Luiz and Marquinhos, all merit a place in Dunga’s Brazil squad such is their quality.

“I think Thiago Silva is a great defender who deserves to be selected,” the Inter man told Globoesporte. “But it’s a choice for the coach and you have to respect that.

“I’ve also been rejected and I have learned lessons.

“David Luiz? He is one of the best defenders in Europe, it’s normal that when you make mistakes you are criticised. I have no problem playing with him or with Thiago Silva, or with Marquinhos, either.”

Icardi: Inter proved we are a great side

The Argentina international says that Nerazzurri’s 2-0 win over Maurizio Sarri’s men proves they are a “great side” as they tighten their grip on a top-four finish

Mauro Icardi says Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Serie A title contenders Napoli shows Inter are moving in the right direction under Roberto Mancini.

Inter dealt a huge blow to Napoli’s hopes of challenging Juventus for the Scudetto with victory at San Siro, with Icardi opening the scoring after four minutes before setting up Marcelo Brozovic to seal the win just before half-time.

Victory strengthened Inter’s grip on a top-four spot with five games to play and kept them within four points of Roma – who drew 3-3 with Atalanta on Sunday – in the final Champions League place.

“I don’t know if it was our best performance of the season, but this is a team that always fights hard,” he told Sky Sport Italia.
READ MORE  | Napoli hopeful of retaining Higuain
“In January we went a bit wrong, but Inter proved today we are a great side.

“I think we always played with intensity. There was a spell when we didn’t lack intensity as such, but tended to concede goals late on to draw or lose games.

“We all care for each other and want the best for the team. We are doing well and have picked up three very important points.”

Jovetic wants lengthy Inter stay

The 26-year-old Nerazzurri attacker is not thinking about leaving the San Siro club any time soon and is keen to show that he can be a key figure

Stevan Jovetic has laughed off suggestions he could leave Inter at the end of the season and is adamant he wants to stay at the club for a long time.

The 26-year-old joined Inter from Manchester City at the start of the season on an 18-month loan deal with a view to a permanent deal and impressed in his first few weeks at the San Siro side.

However, a series of injuries prevented him from making a more lasting impact and some reports suggested he could be on his way out of Inter again come June.

Jovetic caught the eye in the 2-0 win over Napoli on Saturday, though, and has made it clear he has no intention of leaving any time soon.

“I know what I can do and, unlike what I’ve read in the papers, I came here to stay for a long time and make my mark,” Jovetic told the official Inter website.
READ MORE  | Icardi: Inter proved we are a great side
“I didn’t have the best of time but now I’m on the way back and I’m getting some minutes under my belt.

“It was a wonderful feeling to go off to applause at San Siro. I’ve played a lot in the last two matches and I’m sure that my fitness levels will keep improving.”

Jovetic has netted four goals in 21 Serie A appearances this season.

Inter 2-0 Napoli: Icardi and Brozovic boost Champions League hopes

The hosts moved to within three points of third-placed Roma with a deserved victory while Maurizio Sarri’s men saw their faint hopes of catching Juventus take a blow

Inter gave their Champions League hopes a big boost while simultaneously striking a potentially fatal blow to Napoli’s Serie A title chances with a 2-0 victory at San Siro on Saturday.Roberto Mancini’s Inter went into the contest against the title hopefuls six points adrift of third-placed Roma and looking to crank up the pressure on the capital city club, who play Atalanta on Sunday.Second-placed Napoli’s need for the points was equally crucial as a win would have seen them move to within three points of Juve ahead of the league leaders’ encounter with Palermo.But the visitors lacked penetration in the absence of suspended top scorer Gonzalo Higuain, and first-half goals from Mauro Icardi and Marcelo Brozovic earned a deserved win for Inter.In-form Nerazzurri captain Icardi got the hosts off to a great start with his fourth goal in five matches after just four minutes, despite suspicions of offside, and he then turned provider for Brozovic to strike on the counter-attack, making it 2-0 before half-time.Napoli – who won November’s reverse fixture 2-1 – continued to toil in the final third after the break, and Jeison Murillo wasted a fine chance to add further gloss.The match marked the first meeting between Inter boss Mancini and Maurizio Sarri since the Napoli coach was banned for directing a homophobic slur at his counterpart during a Coppa Italia tie in January.There was a handshake between the rival coaches pre-kick off, though, and Mancini was celebrating first in the fourth minute.Gary Medel’s excellent ball over the top was brilliantly controlled by Icardi and the skipper provided a clinical left-foot finish, Napoli’s pleas for offside going unheard.Napoli dominated the ball but were restricted to long-range efforts. Marek Hamsik’s dipping shot was safely parried by Samir Handanovic before the Inter goalkeeper made a brilliant one-handed stop from Allan’s drive.Inter had scarcely threatened since the goal, but Napoli were let off the hook when Stevan Jovetic’s teasing right-wing cross was headed wide at the back post by Ivan Perisic with the goal gaping.It was 2-0 before the break. Jovetic’s throughball picked out Icardi and he brilliantly teed up Brozovic to dink a fine finish past Pepe Reina.Napoli still struggled to penetrate after the break, but Jose Callejon was unlucky with a well-controlled volley from Hamsik’s cross that cleared the left-hand post.Inter were keen to exploit the counter-attack and Murillo wastefully headed over the crossbar when unmarked from Icardi’s corner.Soon after, Reina spilled a simple ball into the box and Kalidou Koulibaly headed Jovetic’s chip off the line.The visitors tried to commit men forward in the closing stages, but Inter – who had failed to beat Napoli in their past six league meetings – controlled the game brilliantly and held firm for a crucial win.