- Inter have given head coach Stefano Pioli a vote of confidence in the wake of their 5-4 Serie A defeat at the hands of Fiorentina. A number of reports suggested Pioli had offered his resignation following yet another underwhelming performance from Inter, with the club allegedly ...Inter have given head coach Stefano Pioli a vote of confidence in the wake of their 5-4 Serie A defeat at the hands of Fiorentina. A number of reports suggested Pioli had offered his resignation following yet another underwhelming performance from Inter, with the club allegedly convincing the 51-year-old to stay on. Pioli slams Inter after nine-goal thriller Inter have now acknowledged Saturday's defeat was unacceptable, but they remain confident Pioli is the right man for the job. "The manner of the defeat at Fiorentina was unacceptable for our supporters and we are determined to put this right. Everyone at the club, from the players to the staff, is now focused on working as hard as possible to achieve the maximum result and finish the season strongly," a club statement read. "In order to achieve this, the club confirms its full backing and that of the ownership in Stefano Pioli and his entire technical staff. Pioli joined Inter at a difficult time and the work he has carried out over the six months since he joined in November last year has been exceptional and deserves our respect. The club will not be distracted by rumours circulated by those outside of the club. 'UCL will keep Conte at Chelsea' "Our target remains to finish as high as possible in Serie A and qualify for European football, by giving the maximum in every match and for the players to represent the club's colours with honour and pride as befits the history and tradition of this great club." Inter have dropped to seventh place in the table following their recent slump, having collected only two points from their last five fixtures.
- Inter boss Stefano Pioli has labelled his side's display in the 5-4 defeat to Fiorentina as "the worst performance of the season". Pioli's men went into the interval at Stadio Artemio Franchi 2-1 up courtesy of strikes from Ivan Perisic and Mauro Icardi. However, despite Federi...Inter boss Stefano Pioli has labelled his side's display in the 5-4 defeat to Fiorentina as "the worst performance of the season". Pioli's men went into the interval at Stadio Artemio Franchi 2-1 up courtesy of strikes from Ivan Perisic and Mauro Icardi. However, despite Federico Bernardeschi missing a penalty, Fiorentina raced into a 5-2 lead by the 79th minute, and though two late efforts from Icardi applied some pressure in the closing stages, Inter slumped to a third defeat in their last four Serie A games. Hazard proves he's still best in England And Pioli - whose post-match comments were delayed after he remained behind with his team in the away changing room - held nothing back in his criticism. "It was the worst performance of the season. We were unable to react to difficulties," Pioli told Mediaset Premium. "We have five games to regain the credibility that we threw away. We have hit rock bottom in the second half. "We have to do the assessments and analysis to understand what happened in the second half, because that cannot be my team. We had an unexplained blackout." Fiorentina's victory lifts them onto 55 points, one behind Inter, who are seventh in the table.
- Mauro Icardi's hat-trick counted for nothing as Inter slumped to a 5-4 defeat to Fiorentina in a remarkable Serie A encounter at Stadio Artemio Franchi. Three goals in the space of eight second-half minutes - plus a 79th-minute effort from Khouma Babacar - looked to have wrapped...Mauro Icardi's hat-trick counted for nothing as Inter slumped to a 5-4 defeat to Fiorentina in a remarkable Serie A encounter at Stadio Artemio Franchi. Three goals in the space of eight second-half minutes - plus a 79th-minute effort from Khouma Babacar - looked to have wrapped up the points for Fiorentina, but two late goals from Icardi set-up a grandstand finish in an incredible clash. Having initially come from a goal behind thanks to strikes from Ivan Perisic and Icardi, Stefano Pioli's Inter looked in good shape heading into the second half. However, despite Federico Bernardeschi squandering an opportunity from the penalty spot, Fiorentina - who had taken a 23rd-minute lead courtesy of Matias Vecino's first goal of the season - blitzed their way through Inter's ramshackle defence midway through a thrilling second period. Samir Handanovic had made a string of fine saves prior to the 62nd minute, but his untimely slip allowed Davide Astori to level matters with a looping header before Vecino netted his second and Babacar got in on the act with two brilliantly-taken goals. Icardi's goals either side of the 90-minute mark applied the pressure late on, but Fiorentina ultimately held firm to secure a famous victory, moving to within a point of seventh-placed Inter in the process. Inter started well - both Perisic and Icardi testing Ciprian Tatarusanu from acute angles before Borja Valero and Babacar forced Handanovic into action at the other end. Handanovic could do nothing to prevent Fiorentina's opener, though, as Vecino thumped in an emphatic first-time finish after connecting with Hrvoje Milic's low cross. Fiorentina's lead was short-lived though, as Perisic restored parity at the culmination of a free-flowing counter. Perisic sent Antonio Candreva free down the right, and the former Lazio winger made no mistake in picking out the Croatia forward, who duly tucked home from close range. Inter were ahead six minutes later - Icardi brushing aside Carlos Sanchez before dispatching a low finish into the left corner. Handanovic had to be at his best once more on the stroke of half-time, reacting superbly to spare Miranda's blushes, and Inter's goalkeeper was the hero again after the interval. Danilo D'Ambrosio was harshly adjudged to have brought down Babacar in the area, but justice was done when Bernardeschi drilled the resulting penalty straight at Handanovic. Fiorentina were level soon after, however, as Handanovic's slip prevented him from keeping out Astori's header. Fiorentina were looking rampant, and had their third a minute later when Vecino slotted home from the edge of the area at the end of a superb run. Inter's shocking second-half display was made worse moments later, Babacar adding a fourth with a wonderfully disguised finish into the bottom-right corner and then nudging home his second of the match nine minutes later. And despite Fiorentina's three-goal cushion, Babacar's second goal ultimately proved decisive, after Icardi tucked in Perisic's cross before bringing up his hat-trick with a powerful header in stoppage time. There was to be more drama, though, as - in the final minute of stoppage time - Astori hooked Marcelo Brozovic's strike off the line to preserve the three points.
- Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino is unconcerned over reports linking defender Toby Alderweireld with Inter. The Serie A club have ambitious plans in the transfer market under their owners the Suning Group for the forthcoming close-season and Sky Italia reported they were re...Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino is unconcerned over reports linking defender Toby Alderweireld with Inter. The Serie A club have ambitious plans in the transfer market under their owners the Suning Group for the forthcoming close-season and Sky Italia reported they were ready to meet a £25million release clause in Alderweireld's contract at White Hart Lane. Alderweireld's current deal runs until 2020 and the 28-year-old has formed an impressive defensive alliance with Belgium colleague Jan Vertonghen, with Spurs enjoying an excellent season and preparing to face Premier League title rivals Chelsea in Saturday's FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. 'Faltering Chelsea fear Tottenham' Speaking at a media conference ahead of that match, Pochettino insisted he was unconcerned about speculation surrounding Alderweireld or any of his key players. "If some clubs are interested in some players it is very clear you need to knock on the door of [Tottenham chairman] Daniel Levy," he said. "If any player is going to leave the club it is always our decision, the club's decision. "All the players today have contracts for the next two or three years, minimum, and we're not worried. "I invite all the clubs that want players from Tottenham to come to the training ground and visit our chairman Daniel Levy. "[Alderweireld] is playing and it is his second season with the club. I don't think anybody has any doubts about Toby." Kane aiming to hunt down Lukaku Alderweireld himself seemed fully committed to the cause in an interview with the Evening Standard, where he professed his belief that this Tottenham squad is destined to win major silverware. "With this team, and with the people working for it, we will get a trophy — 100 per cent," he said. "If it is not this season, then it will be the one after. We will do everything we can to make it happen this season. "Sometimes it is all about details. Last season we didn't win the league but we kept going. This season we already have 71 points — one more than we got in the whole of last season. "Even with the disappointment of last season we have kept fighting, and this season we are in an even better position. Regardless of what happens during the rest of this season, we have to keep improving and get better for next season as well. "The desire to achieve something and to get better, as a young group, is there. We want to play better than we did last season. We want to become better. It says a lot about the mental strength of the team." Chelsea v Tottenham: Team news & TV Spurs will again be without Danny Rose (knee) when they take on Chelsea, with Pochettino feeling the England left-back is more likely to return for next weekend's north London derby at home to Arsenal, as opposed to another all-capital encounter at Crystal Palace in midweek. "Arsenal, maybe. For Saturday, no," he added. "He's okay, he's doing well, he's still not with the group but he's at a very good level."
- Antonio Conte will stay as Chelsea manager amid links to Inter because the challenge of taking them back into the Champions League is too good to resist, according to Marcello Lippi. Lippi, who like Conte formerly managed Juventus and Italy, does not believe the prospect of taki...Antonio Conte will stay as Chelsea manager amid links to Inter because the challenge of taking them back into the Champions League is too good to resist, according to Marcello Lippi. Lippi, who like Conte formerly managed Juventus and Italy, does not believe the prospect of taking the Inter job would appeal to the Stamford Bridge boss at this early stage of his career in England. Despite the 47-year-old's continued denials, speculation still links him with a move to San Siro, while Diego Simeone is another rumoured candidate to replace Stefano Pioli as the Serie A club's Chinese owners Suning target a big name. Could Messi and Dybala play together? But Lippi, who coached Conte at Juve in his playing days, is not buying reports that that he could be tempted to leave Chelsea, even with a five-year contract worth £50million reportedly on the table from Inter. Chelsea, winners of Europe's elite club competition in 2012, missed out on a place this time around after last season's mid-table finish, but Conte has set them on course for a return as the Blues sit top of the Premier League. "We are talking about him because he is one of the best in the world, but he seems happy in London to me," Lippi told Mediaset Premium. "He wants to take the Blues into the Champions League next year, so I don't think he will change bench." Lippi feels the takeovers of Inter and city rivals AC Milan over the past year were steps that had to be taken to make the two clubs competitive again. "These are two handovers which represent love for the team by Massimo Moratti and Silvio Berlusconi," added the China boss. "These are clubs which can no longer be managed by families, it takes big entrepreneurial groups and currently those are Arabic, Chinese and Russian."