SERIE A

Mancini on thin ice

The Inter boss was sent to the stands during his side’s crushing derby defeat. The Nerazzurri have failed to pick up a win from their last four games.

Roberto Mancini
DANIEL DAL ZENNARO EFE

Inter Milan coach Roberto Mancini is set for crunch talks at the club after a crushing 3-0 derby defeat to AC Milan left a sizeable dent in his side's Serie A title hopes.

Mancini was sent off for dissent in the second half of a stormy encounter at the San Siro on Sunday, where he lost his composure on his way through the tunnel by sticking his middle finger up to a group of Milan fans.

The 164th 'Derby della Madonnina' turned in favour of hosts Milan when Inter striker Mauro Icardi's 70th minute penalty came off the post.

Inter's heads dropped and Milan capitalised with two quick goals in succession from Carlos Bacca and M'Baye Niang adding to Alex's 35th minute opener to hand Mancini's men their heaviest derby defeat since a 3-0 reverse in April 2011.

Inter remain in fourth place but are now nine points adrift of leaders Napoli, who thumped Empoli 5-1 at home the same day as champions Juventus routed Chievo 4-0 in Verona to stay within two points.

In a matter of weeks, Inter's title bid has slipped dramatically and reports on Monday claimed relations between Mancini and Argentinian striker Icardi are so bad the club are considering selling him for a cut price of 25 million euros on the final day of transfer action.

After the disappointing results, the under-fire boss stated: “When you're lacking some consistency, results can go awry. But I take full responsibility, the lads gave it everything out on the pitch”.

Inter are now winless in their past four league outings, and have scored only two goals in that time.

"I'm 51 years old and even I would have scored some of those goals"

Roberto Mancini

The Nerazzurri moved to remedy the drought by snapping up Eder from Sampdoria last Friday, but a promising start by the Brazil-born Italy striker failed to produce much-needed goals.

When Inter were rewarded a penalty for a handball by Alex, Icardi stepped up in confident fashion. The under-fire Argentinian did himself no favours by hitting a game-changing penalty against the post.

Icardi has hit only eight league goals this term. Last season, Icardi shared the top scorer's 'Capocannoniere' prize with Luca Toni after both hit 22 goals.

Mancini last week publicly lambasted his misfiring front men when they failed to convert a series of chances before 10-man Carpi fought back to level 1-1 at the death.

“I'm 51 years old and even I would have scored some of those goals”, Mancini said after last week's draw.

Mancini decided against pointing the finger at Icardi on Sunday but the crushing defeat to Inter's bitter rivals has left its mark on the former Manchester City manager.

“It's definitely the worst January of my coaching career”, Mancini told Inter Channel.

“I'm sorry for the fans and I apologise for how we lost the derby, but we'll get over this difficult period and get back to winning ways. I'm 100 percent sure of that”.

Inter have a chance to remedy the situation when they host Chievo on Wednesday.