Icardi speechless after capitulation
Inter Milan captain Mauro Icardi launched a late-season rallying call following an "unexplainable" second-half collapse in a 5-4 defeat to Fiorentina that dented the Nerazzurri's hopes of Europa League football.
"If you ask me, with the squad we have we deserve to be playing the Europa League because our chances of Champions League football ended with the defeats to Sampdoria and Crotone," Icardi told Mediaset Premium.
"We'll see. We have five games left. Until May 28, we have to give every last drop and be as clinical as possible."
Yet after another topsy-turvy performance, Inter's hopes of a top five finish and entry to Europe's second tier event look slim.
The Nerazzurri will be seven points behind the Europa League places if Lazio, currently fifth at two points behind fourth-placed Atalanta, beat Palermo on Sunday.
Inter travelled to the Artemio Franchi desperate for their first win in five league outings. But despite responding to Matias Vecino's 23rd minute opener with goals from Ivan Perisic and Icardi by the 34th minute, Stefano Pioli's men suffered a dramatic collapse in the space of 17 second-half minutes that saw them concede a penalty as well as three goals before launching a futile, last-gasp revival after Khouma Babacar hit the second of a late brace in the 79th minute.
Inter's third defeat in a five-game winless run leaves the Nerazzurri in seventh place and, less than a year after their takeover by the Chinese Suning group, still out of Europe.
Inter host Napoli, in third, next week and Pioli told Sky Sport: "There's no justification for our performance. We had an unexplainable blackout. It seems that in this period we just don't know how to respond to certain difficulties. This is a big handicap, because football is full of challenges. We have to try to make sure this doesn't happen again."
Minutes into the second half, Federico Bernardeschi's woeful chip from the penalty spot was parried by Inter 'keeper Samir Handanovic.
But when the Italy midfielder was replaced, to an ironic round of jeers, with Josip Ilicic just before the hour, it sparked a Viola revival that saw Davide Astori beat Handanovic with a powerful header from a corner then Vecino, with his second, give Fiorentina a 3-2 lead on 64 minutes.
Babacar's late brace in the space of nine minutes added drama, prompting Icardi to add: "What is there to say? Our second half is unexplainable. We should have wrapped up the match just after the restart, but instead went on to concede four. That just shouldn't happen."
Against all odds, Icardi produced a stunning late brace, first turning on a sixpence to fire in off the inside of the far post following a cross from the left then nodding home from a corner to complete his hat-trick in the second minute of added-on time.
But Inter ultimately succumbed to a third defeat in five outings that has left Pioli facing the sack at the end of the season.