|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Inter are far from out of it: Mancini
Simon Evans | April 07, 2005 11:05 IST
Inter Milan coach Roberto Mancini insisted his side still had a chance of making the last four of the Champions League despite their 2-0 quarter-final, first-leg defeat by city rivals AC Milan on Wednesday.
Goals in each half from Dutch defender Jaap Stam and European Footballer of the Year Andriy Shevchenko gave Milan a victory which leaves them as firm favourites to go through and face PSV Eindhoven or Olympique Lyon in the semi-finals.
Mancini said, however, that Inter should not be written off.
"We are not resigned to our fate, there are still 90 minutes left to play and in the first half tonight we were the better team. Let's see how it is next week," he said.
"They weren't two goals better than us tonight and [Milan keeper] Dida kept them in it in the first half before we were caught cold before the break," he added.
"We are 2-0 down but anything can happen in this game. If we have [Brazilian striker] Adriano fit for the second-leg, he could make the difference."
Both Milan's goals came via headers from Andrea Pirlo free kicks and Mancini had harsh words for how his defence failed to cope with those crosses.
"We conceded two very similar goals and we simply weren't attentive enough. We were sleeping for both those goals," he said.
Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti was also wary of reading too much into Wednesday's result.
"It was a fairly even game and we still have the second leg to play and I don't think it will be as straightforward as some people might think," he said.
"Inter showed that they can cause you problems if you are not fully concentrated. In the return, they are going to have to come at us and push forward while we will have to play our own way again."
Ancelotti was particularly pleased that Shevchenko, who was returning after six weeks out with a fractured cheekbone, got back on target and with a header.
"Given his injury it was good for him to score with a header in a crowded penalty area. He really attacked the ball and that shows that everything is fine with him," he said.
Shevchenko said he had been asked by Ancelotti before the game whether he felt ready to start.
"I had no hesitation over the decision. I really wanted to play in this one," said the Ukrainian.
"I was a bit tentative at the start and it isn't easy after a month and a half out. In fact, the team was a bit nervous but then we were able to get it together and play as Milan can."