Mancini backs Icardi to keep improving


Inter coach Roberto Mancini has backed Mauro Icardi to keep on improving after the captain made a match-winning contribution in Saturday's 2-0 victory over Napoli.

Icardi opened the scoring in the fourth minute with a clinical finish after brilliantly controlling Gary Medel's long ball, and then laid on the assist for Marcelo Brozovic to make it 2-0 at San Siro on Saturday as Inter dented Napoli's hopes of catching Serie A leaders Juventus.

The Argentina striker now has four goals in five matches and took his tally to 15 in the league for the season, but Mancini insists the 23-year-old still has plenty of room to develop.

"Players can keep improving even at 31, so Mauro can work at his game and get better," he told Mediaset premium. 

Icardi linked well with fellow forward Stevan Jovetic, a partnership Mancini feels could have worked better at times this season.

"I think they could have done better at certain times because they are players who can play together for the different characteristics they have," he added.

"There were moments this season in which they could do much better. Against Napoli they did very well at times, other times not so much but this can happen."

Inter's win means they close to within three points of third-placed Roma, who play Atalanta on Sunday, but Mancini believes Champions League qualification is still a long shot.

"I do not know if we can get third, there are points available," he said. "We do not have many chances but as long as there are points available you have to fight then we'll see at the end.

"I don't think we've got much of a chance, but we have to keep trying and will see where we are on May 15."

Mancini also reserved special praise for Geoffrey Kondogbia, crediting him with changing the complexion of the match against Napoli.

"When Kondogbia started to play and did not sit as deep the game was different." he said "Of course you don't get to beat a side like Napoli without taking risks at the back."