Roberto Mancini insists the Coppa Italia performance against Juventus was not “Jekyll and Hyde,” as Inter aim to repeat that with Palermo.
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The Nerazzurri have plummeted down the Serie A table to fifth place and are out of the Coppa Italia, but beat Juventus 3-0 in the semi-final second leg on Wednesday, exiting only on penalties. Can that performance help turn this season around?
“Aside from the disappointment of not going into the Final, despite a 3-0 victory over Juve, I hope this will help the team understand we are capable of doing something good. It can give us more belief and calm for the next games,” said the Coach in his Press conference.
“There are no regrets. When you are building a team, you can think you achieved the right level after five months only to then have a dip in form for no particular reason. We were also a little unlucky and dropped points in the final minute, which rarely happens as often as it has done to us.
“Our objective is third place, we are still in the running, so we have to continue like this. Roma are doing very well, seven consecutive victories deservedly took them to third place, but they have several head-to-head matches yet to play, including against us, so it’s all to play for.
“My contract? There’s no problem.”
Ivan Perisic was immensely impressive against Juventus midweek, so can he repeat that performance in future?
“He pretty much always played there. I think Perisic, Geoffrey Kondogbia and last season Marcelo Brozovic come from a totally different League and need time to adapt to Serie A.
“If there’s one good thing about this team it’s the attitude and we have a great group of lads. It’s absolutely not true that the players weren’t following me anymore. This is the typical report that comes out in the Italian media.
“Being quite a young team, of course when results don’t come there is going to be a little disappointment. Performances like the one against Juventus can help prove to them that we can do more than perhaps we thought we were capable of.”
What was behind the Jekyll and Hyde difference between Inter’s performances against Juve in Serie A and in the Coppa, just three days apart?
“The game in Turin last Sunday was very balanced indeed. If we hadn’t made a mistake at the start of the second half, Juve would not have won that at all easily. I don’t think it was a bad performance at all.”
Mauro Icardi was on the bench in that Coppa Italia tie, so is he still the first choice as striker and captain?
“It’s not easy to be a captain of any team. We gave the armband to Mauro because he is a player Inter are counting on for the future. He needs to grow, but having this role at his age means he’s got character and the respect of his teammates.”
Icardi hit back via Twitter this week after Inter director Piero Ausilio suggested this team had “no balls.” Was that uncalled for?
“Like all directors, he tries to motivate the squad and get them fired up. I don’t see anything unusual in that. The players know he has the utmost respect for them.
“You can lose in football, but it’s not as if the lads didn’t put the effort in. One game doesn’t wipe out six weeks of results that weren’t positive, but it can help turn the tide. We’re not bottom of the table. Hopefully tomorrow night we’ll still be within five points of third place with many rounds to go.”