Inter head coach Roberto Mancini feels Inter did not deserve to lose to holders Juventus in a thrilling Coppa Italia semi-final.
After losing the first leg 3-0 in Turin, the hosts stormed back to win the return match 3-0 at San Siro on Wednesday, with Marcelo Brozovic scoring twice and Ivan Perisic also on target.
The tie eventually progressed to penalties, where Juve survived with a 5-3 shoot-out victory because of Rodrigo Palacio’s miss from the spot.
“Above all I feel sad for them as the lads deserved to get to the final,” Mancini told Rai Sport.
“It was a wonderful game. I want to congratulate the players on a great performance from the first to the last minute.
“After being beaten on penalties I expect the team to realise the quality they have and understand that we can go blow for blow with the best.”
Mancini and his players have been heavily criticised for an alarming slump in form that has seen them slip from first place in Serie A on January 9 down to fifth in the standings.
The former Manchester City boss insists he is unfazed by negative reviews of his team, but does hope the spirited recovery against Juve can kickstart their bid for Champions League qualification.
“Inter were top of the Serie A table for 18 rounds and everyone criticised us anyway,” he added. “Then we lost some games and everyone criticised us, so we just have to keep working and ignore all that
“We are a team and are trying to build something. On occasions we have moments of difficulty – that is football.
“There are 12 games left and hopefully this performance can give us the self-belief and momentum to capture third place.”