Premier League

Mancini exasperated by rumours

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Fri, 22 Feb 2013 11:47:00

Inter Milan boss Andrea Stramaccioni is relishing the chance to pit his wits against Tottenham in the last 16 of the Europa League.

A brace from Fredy Guarin and a late goal from Marco Benassi saw Inter win 3-0 at Cluj to complete a 5-0 aggregate win, while Spurs drew 1-1 at Lyon to advance 3-2 on aggregate.

Inter and Spurs shared two memorable games in the Champions League group stages of the 2010-11 season and Stramaccioni echoed his counterpart Andre Villas-Boas' enthusiastic post-match comments ahead of next month's two-legged encounter.

He told inter.it: "They're a top side, at Champions League level, but we're Inter and we'll show what we're about."

Eleven goals were scored in the last two games between the sides, with Gareth Bale scoring a memorable hat-trick in a 4-3 Inter win at the San Siro before Spurs responded with a 3-1 victory at White Hart Lane.

Stramaccioni's immediate thoughts turn to the Milan derby on Sunday night and the 37-year-old feels Thursday's creditable victory in Cluj provided a timely confidence boost during a poor run of form in Serie A.

He added: "Aside from the knocks, my team gave an excellent response by winning again on the road - something we'd not done in a while - and winning well.

"Was there a positive impact? Let's say we were angry and smarting after the (4-1) defeat against Fiorentina. We knew that wasn't the real us in Florence.

"On a negative note, we lost (defender Andrea) Ranocchia to injury. I still haven't got any news on how he is, but this is something we could have done without, so we're quite unfortunate."

With City's hopes of retaining their Premier League title fading, Mancini's position has come under considerable scrutiny.

Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini is the latest name to be linked with his post at the Etihad Stadium.

Mancini dismissed suggestions he could be sacked when he met media prior to last week's FA Cup win over Leeds and had to revisit the subject after the game.

When former Real Madrid boss Pellegrini was then mentioned in the opening question at his latest press conference, Mancini indicated he was clearly wearying of the discussion.

After a shrug, but then a smile, Mancini said: "f****** hell!"

After a brief pause and a laugh, he gave a more thorough response.

The Italian said: "I cannot continue to answer about this every week.

"We have another two months. In two months you will know if this can happen but I can't continue with this.

"This is normal for you, it's your job, don't worry, but I can't continue to answer each week about one (manager) or another or another.

"But also because I don't understand this - why would Manchester City change their manager? For what reasons?"

City trail Premier League leaders Manchester United by 12 points, a gap that could have increased before they face third-placed Chelsea on Sunday.

But after leading City to FA Cup success in 2011 and following up with last year's dramatic title victory - the club's first league win in 44 years - Mancini retains the support of the fans.

His name was chanted a number of times during the win over Leeds last Sunday, which took City through to the last eight of the cup.

Mancini said: "After the FA Cup (game), I said that in the last 18 months since Manchester United won the Premier League, there were seven trophies (to play for) and Manchester City won three of those seven trophies.

"For this reason, I don't understand (the speculation).

"I'm not the CEO or chairman, if you want to ask these questions ask them.

"I have four more years on my contract, I think I'm doing well, I am happy here."

Mancini said he was still unsure whether captain Vincent Kompany, who has missed the last four games with a calf injury, would be fit to return against Chelsea.

Midfielder Gareth Barry, who has been troubled by an ankle problem, will also be assessed.

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