Inter v Udinese: Icardi to fight for fading top-three hopes


Captain Mauro Icardi wants Inter to keep fighting for Champions League qualification, although he concedes their hopes of a top-three finish in Serie A are increasingly remote ahead of Udinese's visit to San Siro.

Icardi was a surprise starter following a knock when Roberto Mancini's team travelled to Genoa on Wednesday, but the Argentina international was unable to fully call upon the form that has secured 15 top-flight goals so far this season in a 1-0 defeat.

That loss left Inter seven points shy of third-place Roma, who secured a Francesco Totti-inspired 3-2 comeback win over Torino on the same evening, leading Mancini to suggest a return to Europe's premier competition would be "very difficult".

It is view shared by Icardi, who refused to rule out an Inter exit if they fail to reach the Champions League.

"Third place is almost gone but as long as the maths [say it is possible] we we'll not exclude it and keep trying," he told the Inter Channel.

"Fiorentina are two points behind us and we will have to concentrate.

"[At Genoa] we played a great game beyond the result, creating chances but the ball would not go in.

"I had chances. I am a striker and I have to score goals. We are a young team that can improve in many respects.

"We have another game [against Udinese], we have to think to do well."

Jonathan Biabiany was an unused substitute at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris having also been listed as doubtful by Mancini, while Udinese were buoyed by a 2-1 midweek victory over Fiorentina to ease lingering relegation fears.

Goals from Duvan Zapata and Cyril Thereau moved them eight points clear of the bottom three and added another notable scalp in a season where they also hold wins over top two Juventus and Napoli.

"The three points were important to distance ourselves from the relegation zone but our aim is to finish the best we can," coach Luigi De Canio told Rai Sports.

"My boys deserve a better league position than the one which we currently hold so we will continue to play hard until the end."

Icardi was on target twice when Inter left Udine with a 4-0 win in December, when Stevan Jovetic and Marcelo Brozovic also scored. 

Montenegro international forward Jovetic has failed to find the net in 14 subsequent Serie A appearances and came on as a late substitute in the Genoa defeat.