Roberto Mancini underlined Inter Milan’s UEFA Champions League intentions after a hard-fought 1-1 derby draw with Milan on what was the former Manchester City manager’s return to Serie A after a six-year absence on Sunday.
“We will need some time, but our objective is to get back to winning as much as possible and quickly,” Mancini told reporters at the San Siro after the game. “We’re aiming for a third place finish.”
Mancini, who led the Serie A giants to seven trophies including three consecutive league titles from 2004 to 2008, was handed a San Siro baptism of fire on his first game back at Inter after replacing sacked Walter Mazzarri a fortnight ago. On his previous spell at Inter, Mancini had won four, lost five and drawn one in the Derby della Madonnina between the city rivals.
But after just five days working with a new tactical system, Inter had to settle for a share of the spoils in front of nearly 80,000 fans at the clubs’ shared ground. Milan remain seventh at 13 points behind leaders Juventus with Inter in ninth place a further point adrift.
French forward Jeremy Menez struck a superb opener for the hosts in the 23rd minute but Nigerian Joel Obi saved Mancini’s blushes when his drive from outside the area beat Rossoneri ‘keeper Diego Lopez down low in the 61st minute. Inter, however, had missed two great chances through Mauro Icardi either side of their equaliser, leaving Mancini clutching his head in frustration.
Icardi was sent through on goal after a Sulley Muntari howler in the eighth minute but saw his attempted chip of Lopez stopped by the ‘keeper’s trailing leg. Again, in the second half the Argentinian fired a half-volley off the crossbar from Fredy Guarin’s inviting ball into the area.
Mancini, who changed Inter’s 3-5-2 formation to a 4-3-3 for his first game in charge, did not point the finger of blame directly at Icardi but said Inter would have to “rectify” the errors that probably cost them a precious win.
“We can’t afford to miss goalscoring chances. Making mistakes at the start of the game changes the whole outlook for the rest of the game,” added the 49-year-old Italian. “That is one of the several things we will be looking to rectify.”
Having been appointed during the international break and with several players still returning from injury, Mancini admitted he will require time to get his team in prime condition for their aim of a third-place finish.
But on his first game back at the helm, Mancini was satisfied with his players’ performance.
“We had a few problems because we have several players out injured who only returned to the squad recently. (Yann) M’Vila is still getting back to full fitness, as is Hernanes,” added Mancini.
“But I’m happy with how we played. It wasn’t easy with just five days working together trying to adapt to a new system after having worked a year and a half under a different one. Starting with the derby wasn’t the easiest thing. Obviously, it wasn’t a normal night. It’s been quite a hectic past two days.
“You have to rely on your instinct but it was great to come back to the San Siro and see it so full. We wanted to win, but in the end it was a fair result.”