Roberto Mancini is a man under pressure at Inter Milan, but must coax more from his January signings if he is to remain in the job beyond the end of the current season.
The Italian succeeded Walter Mazzarri back in November after a series of poor displays from the San Siro outfit, but has struggled to transform their fortunes, with the Nerazzurri currently seventh in the Serie A table.
Champions League football looks like it will again pass them by this term, but Mancini could still guide them to the Europa League if their newest recruits impress in the latter stages of the season.
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When the New Year rolled around Inter were always expected to be busy, with Mancini known for his willingness to spend due to his time at Manchester City, where he brought the likes of Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure and David Silva to the Etihad Stadium.
Lukas Podolski was the first having fallen down the pecking order at Arsenal, with the German World Cup winner aiming a passing shot at manager Arsene Wenger on his way out of the exit door to leave any hopes of a return to north London hanging by a thread.
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Then came the marquee signing in the form of Xherdan Shaqiri, snared from Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich despite interest from Stoke City and Manchester United. The former Basel striker has shown glimpses of his quality but is still yet to live up to the hype that surrounded his transfer to Italy.
Davide Santon was loaned in from Newcastle United, but the deal has already become permanent despite the 24-year-old struggling to adjust to life back at his former club, yet his experience could work in Mancini’s favour.
At the start of the season Inter were eager to secure a swift return to the Champions League, but after a nightmare season are now facing an uphill battle to qualify for European football altogether. Even their hopes of winning the Europa League are hanging by the most delicate of threads, with Wolfsburg comfortably swatting them aside 3-1 when the sides met a fortnight ago.
Mancini must now focus on his side building momentum in the final stages of the season, to perhaps show the Inter hierarchy he remains the undisputed best man for the job. Any silverware is beyond them but a positive end to the current campaign could be the catalyst for any possible success.
His new signings need to improve and find a way of saving their manager from the axe. Podolski and Shaqiri are, on their day, exciting players but any excitement around the San Siro is extinguishing with every disappointing setback or defeat.
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