Mancini to quit Inter | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 13, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 13, 2008

Mancini to quit Inter

Inter Milan coach Roberto Mancini stunned Italian and European football by announcing he will step down at the end of the season following his team's Champions League elimination against Liverpool.
Spanish striker Fernando Torres scored the only goal of the game at the San Siro on Tuesday as Liverpool completed a 3-0 aggregate victory.
Once again Inter were reduced to 10 men, as they had been in the first leg of the second round clash, when Argentine defender Nicolas Burdisso was justifiably given a second yellow card on 50 minutes.
Liverpool scored 14 minutes later and the game was up for Inter. But little did anyone know that Mancini had decided his time was up as well.
"I think for me the next two and a half months will be me my last on the Inter bench," he said.
"After four years and even if I have another four years on my contract, at the end of the season I'll leave Inter. I've already told the players.
"Tonight's defeat had nothing to do with my decision."
Whether or not Mancini does really leave remains to be seen. Club owner Massimo Moratti refused to comment on the news while Argentine midfielder Estaban Cambiasso claimed it was far from a done deal.
"You have to listen to him, he said probably," insisted Cambiasso. "The word probably does not mean definitely.
"When it's for sure, there will be a reason. I don't think this is the right time to react in the heat of the moment."
It's clear the Inter players are not convinced, either that or they're in a state of denial.
Julio Cruz, who squandered a glorious first half opportunity for the hosts when he shot wide from an angle instead of squaring to Dejan Stankovic, who had an open goal, said he thought Mancini might change his mind.
"It surprised me a bit but I think we say many things in the heat of the moment."
The players seemed to find it hard to accept having had to play large parts of both legs with a man disadvantage.
"We feel really disillusioned because we played the way we needed to and we had chances," said captain Javier Zanetti.
"Playing a man down is not easy, the team gave everything. Now we still have a title to win. Conquering Europe will have to wait until next season."
Zanetti also said he felt the red card was harsh.
"I don't know if it was (a sending off), the referee didn't book many of their players."
Burdisso received his first booking on 34 minutes for deliberately tripping up Dirk Kuyt when he was grounded and the Dutch forward looked set to race into space with the ball.
Five minutes into the second period he was booked again for a stupid and reckless challenge on Brazilian midfielder Lucas Leiva.
Former Arsenal and Juventus midfielder Patrick Vieira had another reason for Inter's defeat.
"We were too selfish in front of goal and that's why we're out," he said.
As well as Cruz's wasted chance, his strike partner Zlatan Ibrahimovic wasted an identical opportunity in the second period when he should have set up Cruz.
Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez was happy with his team, who look a good bet for another run to the final, as they managed in two of the previous three years.
"The idea was to play a compact game and counter attack," he said.
"They couldn't afford to make any mistakes. I'm really pleased with the way we played."
As for whether or not his team can go all the way again, Benitez was non committal.
"We have a better squad than before but you never know in football. The first year (2005) no-one thought we could win but we did win."

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