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Inter Milan coach still confident despite defeat to AC

SoccerNews in Serie A 5 May 2008

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Inter Milan coach Roberto Mancini insisted he was still confident of landing the Serie A crown despite Sunday's 2-1 defeat against AC Milan in the city derby.

A victory for Inter or a defeat for AS Roma at Sampdoria would have seen Mancini's men crowned champions already, but his team lost and Roma came away from Genoa with a stunning 3-0 victory.

But Inter still have two more matches to play to try to earn the three points they need to wrap up the Scudetto and the coach believes that will happen on Sunday at home to Siena.

“The title, we'll win that on Sunday, I've no doubts about that,” he said.

“I've always thought that the game where we wrapped up the title would be the one against Siena, above all because I was sure that Roma would not drop points in Genoa.

“The lads have done really well up until now and I don't think this defeat will affect their calm.

“At the worst, if we don't manage it against Siena, we'll do it against Parma, it doesn't change much.

“But we're sure that on Sunday we'll play a great match. In the meantime we'll also concentate on the cup semi-final because we also want to win that.”

Mancini was gracious enough to pay tribute to Milan, who he admitted deserved to win on the day.

“They played better than us but we didn't play with our usual aggression which served us so well in the last derby,” said Mancini.

Inter came back from 1-0 down in the December match to win 2-1 and end any hopes Milan had of winning the title.

This time, though, Inter were off the pace until they fell 2-0 behind to goals from Filippo Inzaghi and Kaka.

They upped their game but could only manage a free-kick from Julio Cruz in response.

“The team was asleep today, particularly in the first half,” added Mancini.

“I'm sorry for the disappointment we've caused our fans, losing a derby hurts but at least we'll have another chance (to win the league).

“We're not afraid of Roma, we've always known it would be difficult to go all the way.”

Roma coach Luciano Spalletti all but conceded the title and said he expects Inter to wrap it up in their next match.

Spalletti rued the dropped points at home that have cost his side in the long run.

“They'll win the title on Sunday, they'll beat Siena at home,” he said.

“I'm thinking above all about that home draw two matches ago against Livorno.

“We conceded from the only chance they had in the whole match, and it really was the only one.

“Of course there were also matches where we came away with the points against teams that could have caused us a lot of problems.”

Spalletti could easily have been referring to this match against Sampdoria. His side were second best for long periods but goals from Christian Panucci, David Pizarro and Cicinho in the final 15 minutes gave them the spoils.

“In the first half they put us under a lot of pressure, if they had gone 1-0 up it would have been a different game.”

Spalletti may not believe he can win the title now but he was pleased to have sewn up second place, due to Juventus's 1-0 defeat at Siena.

“I said before the game that it (second place) was an important goal and to have achieved it with two games to play is something to be proud of,” he added.

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