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Mancini´s future in question despite Inter triumph (SN)

SoccerNews in Serie A 19 May 2008


Roberto Mancini's future at Inter Milan was the topic of conversation following the club's third straight title triumph, secured with a 2-0 win at Parma on Sunday.

Sweden forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic came back after a month and a half out with injury to make the difference for the champions, scoring twice in the second half when it looked as if AS Roma might pip the nerazzurri to the post.

In the end, Roma's challenge faded as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Catania, which meant they could not have overhauled Inter even if the defending champions had lost.

But despite leading his team to silverware again this seaosn, rumours are rife that Mancini will be on his way, something the Inter hierarchy were keen to dismiss.

“Mancini is staying, everyone can be calm. It was a tough championship race but one we deserved to win,” said Massimo Moratti, the Inter president.

“We're delighted, the lads won a difficult title race hands down.

“Even though the whole of Italy was cheering against us, that just makes us even more proud.

“The team has been amazing, Mancini gave them the belief they would win.”

General manager Gabriele Oriali agreed that Mancini would be going nowhere, even though press reports have suggested he will leave for Chelsea with Jose Mourinho taking over.

“I don't think there'll be a problem, I'm 101 percent sure Mancini will stay with the same commitment to keep winning and doing well for Inter, I can guarantee it,” said Oriali.

Serbian midfielder Dejan Stankovic admitted the title run-in had been tough but said his team deserved their success.

“That was tough, particularly the last month and a half,” he said. “Everyone can say what they want but we're the best.

“Congratulations to Roma who play great football and who believed until the end but Inter have been top for the last two years.

“It's more exciting to win it on the final day, with this weather (heavy rain) and with Parma who were fighting for their lives.”

Roma boss Luciano Spalletti preferred to focus on the achievements of his team in pushing a much bigger and richer club right to the wire and a dramatic final day of the season.

As the scores stood at half-time – Roma were leading 1-0 while it was goalless in Parma – his team would have won the league.

But it wasn't to be.

“I want to congratulate my team who overcame so many difficulties. We are very bitter and very disappointed to not have won,” said Spalletti.

“Roma fought hard right to the end, didn't we? We've done what we had to do on a difficult pitch.”

Spalletti reminded everyone that Roma had been 11 points behind in February but battled back to be trailing by just one point at the start of the final day's play.

They eventually lost out by three points, 85 to 82.

“From minus 11 to minus one we have come close. The club has grown a lot, Roma is going forwards,” added Spalletti.

“Everyone did what they had to and I think my players deserve some credit.

“At the end of the game we had some problems but we did well to stay in the match until the end. In the end, we did what we had to do, maybe more.”


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