Inter Milan coach Roberto Mancini admitted his side will “be supporting Napoli” when the southerners visit Roma on Monday looking to tighten their grip on Serie A’s second automatic Champions League qualifying spot.
Inter reinforced fourth in Italy’s top flight on Saturday with a 3-1 home defeat of Udinese — a match referred to in the Italian media as ‘Strangers in the Night’ because it kicked off without a single Italian player.
The win left Inter four points behind Roma in the chase for the third and last Champions League place.
With Napoli at Roma on Monday, Mancini admits he would welcome a Napoli win as it would maintain his side’s hopes of ending a five-year wait to return to Europe’s premier club event.
“We had to win this game if we were to keep our hopes of a third-place finish alive… but we have to see what happens at the end and now we’ll be supporting Napoli,” said Mancini.
“When you’re behind your rivals, you can only hope they have some slip-ups. But even though we created a lot of chances we also risked losing this game.”
Inter have suffered from inconsistency this season but a brace from Stevan Jovetic helped turn around a game that came under the watchful eye of a delegation of potential investors from China.
Inter are owned by Indonesian businessman Erick Thohir and although the club’s former president Massimo Moratti retains a minority share, Italian media reports claim he could sell up.
Pictures in Gazzetta dello Sport claimed Zhang Jidong, the chairman of the Suning commerce group — one of the privately owned retailers in China — was among the delegation.
When asked about possible changes at the club, Mancini said: “One thing is certain, and that’s Inter and the fans. That never changes, no matter who the president or the coach is.
“In any case, there’s no turmoil and everything’s calm. We get on with our jobs and try to focus on winning the games. Thohir is fond of the club, as is Moratti.
“We’re calm because we know we’re in safe hands.”
After struggling to match the feats of champions-in-waiting Juventus, who will win a fifth consecutive crown if they beat Fiorentina on Sunday and Napoli lose on Monday, Inter are expected to invest ahead of next season.
While uncertainty remains over Moratti’s minority share, Mancini admitted he would welcome top quality additions.
“As for possible transfers, there are lots of top players out there,” he added.
“We need players with the character and technical ability to play for a team with a great tradition like Inter.” – Agence France-Presse