Monday March 7 2016
Mancini: ‘Third not easy but…’

Roberto Mancini admits “third-place won’t be easy” for Inter but “there are still 30 points to play for”.

The Nerazzurri are currently in fifth in Serie A, five points behind Roma in third, but got back to winning ways this weekend with a 3-1 win over Palermo.

“I’m pleased that the team had another good game after Wednesday and I hope we keep it up for the next ten games,” Mancini told reporters as he attended the Golden Bench [Panchina d'Oro] ceremony, with Juventus’ Max Allegri being given the prize for Coach of the year.

“Third-place won’t be easy because we’re a bit behind, but it’s only five points and we still have to play Roma.

“There are 30 points left to play for so I think it’s possible.

“We made people think we could win the title. Obviously if we were up there with five matches remaining we’d have a chance.

“We always knew there were four better teams than us in the league but that doesn’t mean we can’t finish third.

“That was our objective at the start of the season and we hope to achieve it – if we got third it would be a great season for us.”

Mancini has attracted criticism in the second half of the season, but the former Manchester City manager insists he just shrugs it off.

“That’s Italy. Whether things are going well or not I just do my job – sometimes you get it right, other times you get it wrong.

“I’m used to Italian football by now and I don’t worry about the plaudits or the criticism. I think you should be judged at the end of the season.”

Antonio Conte is expected to leave the Italy job after Euro 2016, could Mancio step into his shoes?

“It’s always an honour to have your name linked with the national team, but for now I don’t think so,” Mancini smiled.

“We’ll see in the future.”

Finally, the Beneamata boss was asked who he voted for in the Golden Bench award, and confirmed he, like Allegri, chose Lazio’s Stefano Pioli.

“Allegri? He won the league so I think it’s deserved. I voted for Stefano Pioli.”

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