Podolksi gets ticking off from Mancini

2015-03-02 14:47
Roberto Mancini (AFP)

Milan - Lukas Podolski and Mateo Kovacic were given a ticking-off by Inter Milan coach Roberto Mancini after their efforts in the 1-0 home defeat by Fiorentina on Sunday.

Podolski, who has failed to make an impact since his move from Arsenal in January, gave another lacklustre performance and Inter improved noticeably when he was replaced by Xherdan Shaqiri in the 66th minute.

In the low point of his performance, Podolski kicked the flag as he was taking the corner and miskicked the ball, which failed to reach the penalty area and was intercepted to set up a Fiorentina counter-attack.

Kovacic, a 20-year-old Croatia midfielder described as being "Inter's future" by Mancini last week and widely praised as one of Serie A's most promising players, also failed to inspire a pedestrian Inter.

Shaqiri, who like Podolski had fallen out of favour at his previous club, has been much livelier since his move from Bayern Munich and the Swiss's entrance gave Inter a new lease of life.

"Shaqiri did well. He played on Thursday (against Celtic in the Europa League), so it was time to rotate the team a bit," Mancini told reporters.

"Podolski needs to do more. His performances aren't sufficient at the moment and he knows that better than anyone. I expect more from Kovacic too. We know he can give a lot more and we hope he will," said Mancini.

"Given the way Shaqiri played when he came on, yes I regret not starting him, but we couldn't have known that beforehand."

Inter had won their previous three Serie A games but Sunday's result, which left them eighth with 35 points, was a setback to their hopes of finishing third and reaching the Champions League playoff spot.

"Fiorentina are a team that knock the ball around very well. We should've been more aggressive, more decisive in the first half," said Mancini.

Substitute Rodrigo Palacio wasted an outstanding chance at the end when he shot straight at Norberto Neto instead of passing to Mauro Icardi, who was completely unmarked.

"It was an outstanding chance, if the ball had reached Icardi he would probably have scored. But we had other chances," said Mancini. "That's how it went, we should be happy with the way the team reacted."


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