Roberto Mancini has backed Inter captain Mauro Icardi to continue improving, but revealed a knock could keep him out of their match against Genoa on Wednesday.
Icardi was the joint highest scorer in Serie A last season but endured a difficult start to the new campaign, finding the net just twice in his first eight top-flight outings.
However, the 23-year-old scored for the third successive match in the 2-0 win over Napoli on Saturday, taking his tally for the season to 15.
Mancini expects to see even more from Icardi in the future, insisting the striker is always striving to improve.
“I played with Pietro Vierchowod [at Sampdoria], and even at 34 and 35 years old he was improving every day, working more than 100 per cent. Not surprisingly he won the Scudetto and many titles,” said the Inter coach.
“Mauro is 23 years old, if he puts in maximum effort and concentration he can grow. He’s doing that. Every day he takes a step forward like anyone who is serious about their work.
“He’s always scored goals and will continue to because it’s his best quality. A football player has the misfortune of only being able to play up to a certain age and should take advantage of these years to improve. If you do it with intelligence, it happens.”
However, Icardi may be forced to sit out Wednesday’s match against Genoa at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris having sustained a knock.
It is a blow for Mancini, with Inter looking to close the four-point gap to third-placed Roma and keep alive their hopes of attaining Champions League qualification.
“Icardi and [Jonathan] Biabiany have taken knocks. We will evaluate them today,” said the Italian.
“We will see with the line-up, we’ll have a look today and then tomorrow morning. Tomorrow’s game will be difficult, Genoa are an aggressive team that runs a lot.
“Everything will depend on the next two games. If we get important points, then the game with Napoli will have been crucial, but we must prove ourselves.
“Everyone has highs and lows, with the exception of Juventus. It’s normal over a season.”
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