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Mancini finds out harsh price of success

SoccerNews in Serie A 30 May 2008

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Inter Milan coach Roberto Mancini must be wondering what the football world is coming to following his sacking after three consecutive Italian league titles (2006 to 2008) and two Italian Cups (2004 and 2005) in four years.

Portugal’s former Porto and Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho is set to take over the Inter hotseat meanwhile.

The 43-year-old Mancini, who is the frontrunner for the vacant Chelsea job, was the most successful Inter Milan manager since the legendary Helenio Herrera in the 1960’s and got rid of their mantle as constant “losers” since before Mancini they had not won since 1989.

However Mancini was unable to make Inter into viable Champions League contenders despite the three Serie A titles, of which only the last one was really won on merit.

The first one came in the wake of the match-fixing scandal and the second was brought about after the heavy points deductions or demotion of their main rivals. Mancini’s record just was not good enough for club President Massimo Moratti.

It was the Champions league which the Nerazzurri president had his eye on at any cost, a trophy the club have not won since consecutive European Cup wins in 1964 and 1965.

Though Mancini had supporters amongst the players, he was not considered the man to take the club into the future, mainly because the last two seasons he was only able to take the club to the last 16 of the Champions League.

The previous two seasons, in 2005 and 2006, he did a little better, taking Inter a round further into the quarter-finals on both occasions.

Defeat to Liverpool had been felt bitterly at the club this season and Mancini had announced his departure at the end of the season minutes after the end of the second leg.

Though Mancini denied it the following day, saying that he had spoken in the disappointment of the moment, the club did not hesitate to recall the situation in their statement on Thursday.

Perhaps Mancini can console himself with the consolation of 24 million euros in compensation thanks to the length of his contract which linked him to them till 2012.

The man-of-the-moment is considered by Moratti to be Mourinho – or ‘The Special One’ as he has been dubbed – and according to the Italian press, he should be installed officially as coach in the next few days.

The big advantage of Mourinho is his track record with major clubs, winning the 2004 Champions League with Porto and taking Chelsea to two Premiership titles.

Midfielder Frank Lampard, Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba or defender Ricardo Carvalho of Portugal, all Chelsea players close to their former coach, have been touted as possibly making the move to the San Siro to join up with their old boss.

The other transfer operation concerning Inter could see their Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic moving to Barcelona in a swap deal with Barca’s Cameroonian front man Samuel Eto’o.

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