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Inter v Fiorentina: Fast start leaves Icardi focused on Europe

Mauro Icardi insists Inter must at least qualify for Europe next season ahead of this weekend’s top-of-the-table clash with Fiorentina.

Inter lead the way in Serie A having maintained their perfect league record with a 1-0 victory over Verona on Wednesday. 

Felipe Melo scored the only goal of the game as Roberto Mancini’s side moved three points clear at the summit thanks to a fifth successive win.

Icardi admits even the Inter players themselves did not expect to make such a sensational start to the campaign, particularly with so many new close-season arrivals.

“We wanted to start strongly, but maybe didn’t think this strongly,” the former Sampdoria striker told Gazzetta dello Sport.

“We’re only at the beginning, but I feel relaxed in first place. Third place is the minimum objective for a club that has made major investments.

“Inter can’t have another season without Europe. With 10 new players, there has been a revolution that made us very strong.

“We have drawn a line over the past and worked to create a great group. In time you will realise. We can only get better.”

Stevan Jovetic, one of those who joined during the most recent transfer window, has scored three goals already since his loan move from Manchester City.

The forward will go up against one of his old clubs at the weekend – he played over 100 games for Fiorentina before moving to the Premier League in 2013.

Fiorentina defender Gonzalo Rodriguez is looking forward to pitting himself against a familiar face in Jovetic.

“It’s nice to meet a former team-mate like him. I always had a good relationship with him, and he’s the complete striker,” the Argentina international said.

“He’s physically strong, and has a good understanding with Icardi. We’ll have to defend as a team.”

However, Inter’s early success has not been built on goals scored. Instead, they have relied on a watertight defence that has conceded only once in Serie A so far.

Fiorentina, meanwhile, have hardly been leaking goals themselves. Paolo Sousa’s team were beaten 3-1 by Torino on the opening weekend of the season, but since then have won four league games on the bounce while only conceding twice.

They moved above Torino into second place courtesy of a 2-0 triumph over Bologna in midweek, with Jakub Blaszczykowski and Nikola Kalinic getting the goals in the second half.

The only disappointment on the night for Fiorentina was a calf injury picked up by Manuel Pasqual, ruling their captain out for at least three weeks.

Fri 25 Sep, 2015
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