Inter Milan manager Roberto Mancini is trying to downplay the importance of his side’s upcoming clash with Fiorentina at Stadio Artemio Franchi on Sunday.
The Viola are one point above the Nerazzurri in the Serie A standings ahead of the match in Florence, and Mancini admits that his stuttering side need to improve as their fine early-season form seems to have dried up.
“This won’t be a decisive match, but it will be important and this is a decisive stage of the season,” he said. “Over the last few weeks we threw away all the extraordinary work we’d done in the previous five months.
“We started the campaign with an objective. The first half of the season was extraordinary, probably above our capabilities. We had a run of five or six games where we stuttered and some of them we deserved to lose, some we didn’t.
“I said for five months there were teams better equipped to win and would emerge in the long run, which proved to be the case. We are still up there. We might be a little sad because we lost points stupidly or had a few games below par, but the objective does not change.”
Both Inter and the Florentines currently occupy the Europa League places in the league standings, and Mancini is aware of the threat posed by the team in purple, who are also their rivals for Champions League qualification.
“Fiorentina have very technical players who can cause you problems, so we have to be more alert,” he continued. “Fiorentina concede on counters because they attack in numbers, but they are a strong side.
“For the moment third is between Roma, Fiorentina and Inter. Milan are five points behind and can certainly close up to challenge too. There’s a long way to the end of the season, so things could change. In the first five months it was an advantage that we weren’t in Europe, so hopefully it will get back to being that way.”