Andrea Stramaccioni and Udinese get last laugh over hapless Mancini and Inter Milan
Roberto Mancini suffered his second straight defeat as coach of Inter Milan after a shock 2-1 reverse to Udinese that left his side in 12th spot in Serie A on Sunday.
A week after a 4-2 defeat away to AS Roma, Inter welcomed former handler Andrea Stramaccioni back to the San Siro for the first time since his sacking at the end of last season.
Udinese were looking to end a five-game winless streak, and it was 38-year-old Stramaccioni who walked away with the plaudits after a composed and determined performance by the northerners.
But the Udinese coach admitted Inter and their staff are “still close to my heart” when he told Sky Sport: “Some things you don’t forget. It would have been better to beat Milan.”
Mauro Icardi gave Inter a first-half lead on the stroke of half-time.
But Bruno Fernandes levelled on the hour before Frenchman Cyril Thereau, who replaced Antonio Di Natale on 64 minutes, gave Udinese the lead seven minutes later.
Inter, who sacked Walter Mazzarri last month, have now failed to win their past five games and Mancini – who took over in time for a 1-1 draw with city rivals AC Milan – hit out at his players’ lack of focus in the second half.
“I don’t understand the drop (in quality) between the first and the second half,” Mancini told Sky Sport.
“In the first we did well and should have even scored more goals. In the second half, we sat back and let Udinese play.
“But what angers me most is our attitude changing when we concede a goal. A game lasts 93 minutes, you have to keep on pressing.”
Thereau admitted Stramaccioni had done a perfect job preparing the side for his return to the club that sacked him in the summer of 2013 after a ninth-place finish.
“The coach did a great job preparing us for this game, it’s never easy to beat Inter at home,” said Thereau.
“I’m happy to score at the San Siro ... but this game should show us that we have to believe we can get a result when we’re away from home.”
It was Udinese’s first win since a 2-0 home defeat of Atalanta on October 26 and moves Stramaccioni’s side up to eighth, 14 points behind leader Juventus but level with seventh-placed AC Milan.
Inter remain 12th, 18 points off the pace and nine behind third-placed Genoa in the third and last Champions League qualifying spot.
On a weekend that saw the top three – Juventus, Roma and Napoli – held to draws, Genoa were among the few top-five teams left celebrating.
Genoa welcomed Filippo Inzaghi’s AC Milan to the Stadio Luigi Ferraris looking to stretch their unbeaten run to nine games and had plenty of incentive after Napoli were held 2-2 by Empoli earlier.
After seeing Jeremy Menez and Stephan El Shaarawy spurn early chances, AC Milan were finally undone by Luca Antonelli’s 32nd minute header that was enough to move Genoa up into the last Champions League spot.
“It was a difficult game for Milan and we thoroughly deserved the win,” Genoa coach Gian Piero Gasperini told Sky Sport.
“It’s a surprise being in this position, but we deserve every single point.”
AC Milan are seventh, 14 points behind Juventus and five behind Genoa.
“We accept the result and take our hats off to Genoa,” Inzaghi told Sky Sport.
“Twice we shot straight at (goalkeeper, Mattia) Perin. We weren’t clinical enough in front of goal.”
Juventus, held to a scoreless draw at Fiorentina on Friday, lead AS Roma by three points after Rudi Garcia’s men battled for a 2-2 draw at home to Sassuolo on Saturday.
Elsewhere Sunday Lazio ran out 2-1 winners at Parma and Atalanta beat struggling Cesena 3-2.
Sampdoria dropped to sixth, but can go fourth to trail city rivals Genoa by just a point if they account for Verona on Monday.
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Published: December 8, 2014 04:00 AM