Despite this, one needs to remember that during this time he has had to work with three different managers who have all interpreted his role in the team differently. For a young player, consistency is the key and the 20-year old is not getting a regular role in the team at the moment.
The game against the Partenopei is the late Su皇马赌场nday kick-off and then Inter must travel to Germany for the first leg of their Round of 16 tie which gets underway at 1800 on Thursday. This allows the team barely two full training sessions in between these two decisive games. Banking on a cup competition is always a gamble, but it is one which the Nerazzurri will be forced to make right now.
After recording three back-to-back League wins for the first time since November 2012 and securing their place in the Round of 16 in the Europa League, the Nerazzurri suffered a setback as they were beaten at San Siro on Sunday evening by Fiorentina.
With such a tough schedule of games to come in Serie A, and the team still struggling to replicate good performances consistently, it would seem wise for Mancini to switch priorities and concentrate on the Europa League. The Nerazzurri have drawn one of the in-form teams in Europe in Wolfsburg in the Round of 16, but do have the advantage of playing the second-leg at home.
The Serpenti have some tough fixtures still to negotiate, starting with the trip to Napoli next weekend. There are more difficult trips in the offing, with Inter yet to travel to Sampdoria, Lazio and Genoa. The home fixtures don’t get any easier with the Derby della Madonnina, and visits from Roma and Juventus still to come.
Mancini has toyed with the idea of concentrating on Europe before, having talked of an alternative way into the Champions League ever since taking over. He reiterated that after the Fiorentina loss, “If it’s clear that Napoli are too far ahead in a few games’ time, we’ll reassess our objectives.”
Mauro Icardi is another player that Mancini will have to protect in this case. In the absence of the Argentine there is no one else that the Biscione can really rely on to get them goals. Rodrigo Palacio has been off the pace this season, and against a side like Wolfsburg who have been banging in goals for fun in the Bundesliga, Inter will need more.
The result means the Nerazzurri remain 10 points from third place, and the gap could have been even wider had Napoli not been beaten by Torino. Furthermore, there are five teams between Inter and the final Champions League place, with even the battle for Eu正规赌博网ropa League spots set to be a very tightly-contested one.
Without Shaqiri on the field, the team lacked an attacking outlet last night, and he will be the main man for the side’s hopes in Europe. Resting him – as against la Viola – would make sense in this context.
The issues with the team selection became apparent almost immediately as Inter seemed off the pace right from kick-off. Lukas Podolski’s mishit corner summed up the first 20 minutes of the game from Mancini’s men, who were second best in almost every department of the field.
A word on the young Croat needs to be said after yet another disappointing performance this weekend. Kovacic has spent little over two yea赌牌网rs at Inter now and despite his obvious talent, he hasn’t really seized the team and propelled them in the way Paul Pogba has Juventus.
The task before the Nerazzurri is not an easy one, especially for a side that has undergone a mid-season transition in Coach and style as they have. However, this may be the only option available now if they are to challenge for European spots. Making up a 10-point gap in 13 games sounds improbable, but getting four-five games of a possible seven right in the Europa League make just be achievable.
Final thought: Kovacic
After a Samir Handanovic error allowed Mohamed Salah to score his fourth Viola goal and give the Tuscans the lead, Mancini brought on Shaqiri and Palacio in an attempt to wrest something from the game. However, despite going down to nine men in the final stages because of injuries, Fiorentina held firm and recorded their first away win against Inter since 2000.
Roberto Mancini made wholesale changes to the team that defeated Celtic midweek as Juan Pablo Carrizo, Andrea Ranocchia, Danilo D’Ambrosio, Hernanes, Xherdan Shaqiri and Rodrigo Palacio were replaced by the returning Samir Handanovic, Nemanja Vidic, Hugo Campagnaro, Marcelo Brozovic, Mateo Kovacic and Lukas Podolski.
Mancini will be better off having a full pre-season with this team and Kovacic to understand how he fits into the team and where he is used to the best of his abilities. The evolution of Philippe Coutinho at Liverpool, who Inter sold in 2013 for just €13m, should hopefully give the management a reason to be patient with Kovacic.