Inter loses patience with Pioli, eyes Conte

China Daily | Updated: 2017-05-11 06:50

MILAN - Inter Milan has fired coach Stefano Pioli and his technical staff three games before the end of the season, the Serie A giant announced on Tuesday.

Pioli took over from Dutchman Frank de Boer two months into the campaign.

However, after initially targeting a Champions League spot, Inter, which is owned by the Chinese group Suning, now risks falling short of even qualifying for the Europa League.

"Inter Milan announces it has parted ways with head coach Stefano Pioli and his coaching staff," said a club statement.

"Inter thanks Stefano and his team for the dedication and hard work carried out at the club over the last six months in what has proven to be a difficult season."

The news came minutes after Serie A leader Juventus booked its place in the Champions League final following a 2-1 win over Monaco that secured a 4-1 aggregate victory.

Inter loses patience with Pioli, eyes Conte

While Juve celebrated booking its second final in three seasons, having succumbed 3-1 to Barcelona in Berlin in 2015, Inter goes back to the drawing board.

"The club will begin planning now for the next season," added the statement.

According to recent reports, Inter - Italy's last Champions League winner in 2010 when Jose Mourinho led the Nerazzurri to a historic treble - is hoping to lure Chelsea manager Antonio Conte to the club.

In the meantime, youth team coach Stefano Vecchi will take charge of the first team for the remaining three games of the season.

Inter began the season hoping to secure a top-three finish and a return to the Champions League for the first time since 2012, when it was eliminated by Marseille in the last 16.

But De Boer lasted only 85 days of a tenure that was plagued by reports of player unrest.

Pioli was appointed in November, but despite beginning his spell with a comeback draw away to AC Milan in the city derby, he failed to spark a revival.

A 1-0 loss to Genoa last weekend in which Pioli substituted club captain and striker Mauro Icardi left Inter in seventh place - three points behind sixth-place city rival AC Milan and a Europa League spot.

It was its fifth defeat in a seven-game winless run that includes a 5-4 loss to Fiorentina and a humiliating 2-1 setback at relegation-threatened Crotone.

Inter had raced to a 2-1 lead at Fiorentina on April 22 only to see La Viola score four goals in 15 minutes after the break.

"This isn't the kind of end to the season worthy of a club like Inter, and we won't accept it," Inter director Piero Ausilio raged at the players.

"It is you who are responsible for this situation and it is you who must get us out of it. Start showing this jersey some respect."

Agence France - Presse

(China Daily 05/11/2017 page24)

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