Roberto Mancini was sacked as coach of Serie A champions Inter Milan on Thursday opening the way for Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho to replace him.
The 43-year-old former Italy international striker, who under him Inter won three successive titles, is favoured to take over at English Premiership giants Chelsea and is largely expected to be replaced by Mourinho.
Inter – who won the first of their three successive titles in 2006 only because those above them were either demoted or deducted points over the match-fixing scandal – released a terse statement about his sacking.
“Inter Milan informed Roberto Mancini that he had been relieved of his role as coach of the team, especially because of his comments that he was not going to stay after the end of the season following the Inter Milan v Liverpool Champions League match on March 11,” read their statement.
Mancini, however, had rescinded those comments the following day declaring that he had made them in the heat of the moment following Inter's elimination from the Champions League in humiliating fashion losing 3-0 on aggregate.
However, lending less credibility to Inter's reason for sacking Mancini are the comments by club president Massimo Moratti when he announced that the coach had changed his mind about leaving at the end of the season.
“I've had a talk with Mancini, who confirmed to me that he wanted to stay at Inter even next year and to see out his contract and he wants to win the Champions League next season,” Moratti told La Gazzetta dello Sport website on March 12.
“Mancini's words surprised me, I didn't expect it and even less so I believe the people close to him,” he said.
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