MILAN: Argentine Mauro Icardi struck late as Inter Milan got back to winning ways under the watchful eyes of former coach Jose Mourinho and striker Ronaldo with a 3-1 win over Sampdoria on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).
Inter had secured just one victory in their past seven games and were especially desperate for a win after falling to Khouma Babacar’s late strike in a 2-1 reverse at Fiorentina last week.
That result virtually ended Inter’s title hopes, but Roberto Mancini’s men are among several sides chasing a top three finish in a bid to secure Champions League.
Inter’s 14th win in 26 games lifted them one place to fourth, 10 points behind leaders Juventus but only one behind third-placed Fiorentina ahead of La Viola’s trip to Atalanta on Sunday.
“It was important to win tonight. When you’re going through difficult times, you have to know when to turn things around by playing tightly and seizing all your opportunities,” said Mancini.
If Mancini felt under pressure after last week’s defeat, he probably had reason to feel even more so after the club announced Mourinho and Ronaldo would be special guests at the San Siro.
Mourinho, sacked by Chelsea two months ago but tipped to take over at Manchester United, steered Inter to the first treble in Italian football history when they won the league, Cup and Champions League in 2010.
But Mancini said: “Mourinho was Inter’s coach for two years and is part of the club’s history, the same for Ronaldo. I don’t see anything wrong (with their presence.”
Inter survived a number of early scares from Vincenzo Montella’s visitors to break the deadlock on 23 minutes when Danilo D’Ambrosio volleyed Marcelo Brozovic’s header from a corner past Emiliano Viviano to score his maiden goal for the club.