Wednesday January 6 2016
Mancini: 'Inter relish pressure'

Roberto Mancini insists Inter “can use pressure in our favour” after their slender victory away to Empoli.

The Nerazzurri needed a victory to stay top of the Serie A table and got their 1-0 result at the Stadio Castellani.

“I think it’s not easy to play at Empoli, they were coming off four consecutive victories and played really good football. It was our first game after the holidays and following the defeat to Lazio.

“We were overall perfect in everything. Empoli did not have great opportunities to score and the only chances they had were given to them by us. We defended well.

“There is always pressure when you are top of the table, but it’s a positive thing we can use in our favour. The issue was getting back to winning ways after the defeat to Lazio.”

Geoffrey Kondogbia returned and seemed shaky, but Mancini stood up for the midfielder.

“I liked his performance. I think he’s improving a great deal, does some things very well and others he has to get better on, such as giving away possession.

“Was it a penalty for Empoli? I thought Manuel Pucciarelli went looking for the contact.

“I like to play with two strikers, but there are some games where the team needs coverage in other areas. All forwards know that there are moments in a season when the ball won’t go in, but I was always confident Mauro Icardi would score 20 sooner or later.

“I would like something more in terms of performance and quality of football, which I had seen about three weeks ago. We’ve got a huge margin for improvement.”

The Winter Champion will be decided at the weekend, the midway point of the season.

“I don’t think it means a great deal, especially with so many teams up there crammed within a few points.”

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