Javier Zanetti admitted he would consider a Nerazzurri comeback, but his compatriot and ex-team-mate asserted that Mancini still has the club’s backing after a tough season
Inter have no plans to replace Roberto Mancini with Diego Simeone, despite the Atletico Madrid coach’s desire to return to San Siro.
Simeone recently outlined his desire to return to the Nerazzurri as coach, having enjoyed a successful two-year spell at San Siro as a player.
The Argentine has transformed Atletico into title challengers in Spain and Europe since returning to the Vicente Calderon.
Nevertheless, Inter vice-president Zanetti has insisted Inter are still fully behind Mancini.
“I know that Simeone would like to coach Inter at some point,” Zanetti told RMC.
“But we already have Mancini, who is a great coach.”
Simeone won the UEFA Cup with Inter in 1997-98, but eventually left the Nerazzurri for Lazio in 1999.
He has been in charge of Atletico since December 2011, guiding them to titles in La Liga, the Copa del Rey, Supercopa de Espana, Europa League and UEFA Super Cup, as well as reaching two Champions League finals.
Davide Santon haven’t played a lot under Roberto Mancini and is likely to leave Inter on the summer. The question stays if he’d get more opportunity under Diego Simeone, he may not leave Inter. Odds that Simeone will actually join Inter after the final Champions League match are like winning on the New Bingo Sites, you never know.
Inter moved quickly having seen Santon convince them that he was capable of steering clear of the treatment table and thriving in familiar surroundings.
Newcastle’s loss would appear to be their gain.
As Santon strutted his stuff in Serie A over the second half of the season, those he left behind went into freefall as St James’ Park saw manager Alan Pardew depart for Premier League rivals Crystal Palace and results on the field take a sudden turn for the worse.
Newcastle, with a threadbare squad – particularly at the back – fended off the threat of relegation by the skin of their teeth, but serious questions are being asked this summer.
Among them are, who comes in to join the ranks?
Steve McClaren has been appointed as manager, but considerable alterations are expected to the playing staff.
Bodies are badly needed in defence, an area where Santon’s versatility – as a man capable of operating on either side of the back four – would have come in very useful.
Newcastle, though, who recouped just £2.8million of the reported £5.3m they paid for the Italy international when offloading him back to Inter, are now having to scour the market once again and prepare themselves to dig deep into the coffers.
Trippier is reported to have a release clause in his contract of £3.5m, a very reasonable fee but one which Newcastle could have avoided paying for a player who doesn’t add too much to what they already had on their books in the not too distant past.
To compare Trippier with Santon is easy enough, with both 24 years of age.
Newcastle wound not, therefore, be parting with the old and bringing in the new. Santon is also considerably more experienced that his defensive counterpart and has graced the very top of the game – the Champions League and senior international stage – while drawing high praise from the likes of Marcello Lippi and Jose Mourinho.
Trippier, on the other hand, has one year of top-flight experience under his belt and two England U21 caps to his name.
He may have shown last season that he is capable of holding his own among English football’s elite, but Santon had hardly embarrassed himself at that level and was a player at a similar stage of his career that could have gone on to scale even greater heights if patience had been shown and his full potential had been given time to be unlocked.
Put under pressure whenever Cardiff had set-pieces but showed bravery in coming to claim Whittingham’s centres into dangerous areas. Had to be alert to make a couple of saves from range. Couldn’t be put at fault for either of Cardiff’s well taken goals.
Kept Odemwingie quiet as he matched him for pace and power down Newcastle’s right. Tidy in the challenge and didn’t show many signs of fatigue following the hectic festive period as he happily worked his way beyond Sissoko on the flank.
Showed the appetite to get forward and beyond Gouffran and gave McNaughton a headache all afternoon on the flank. Delivered some crosses of real quality despite no one getting on the end of them, the fact he was on corner duties on the left emphasising his ability to produce a dangerous ball.
Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa Top of the Match
Formed an unfamiliar partnership with Taylor and although the pair coped well in the first half with Cornelius, both looked a little less sure of foot against the pace of Campbell, illustrated by a clumsy foul on the edge of the area.
Coped with the height difference against Cornelius well by showing some smart movement off the ball to limit the effectiveness of the Dane. Still likes to get forward though and was constantly looking to get on the end of set-pieces inside the Cardiff area.
Ran the midfield for the hosts and constantly retained and recycled possession with impressive regularity. Tired as the game went on but still willed himself and his team-mates to press Cardiff to the final second.
Hatem Ben Arfa
Partnered Cisse up front as Newcastle went with two up top but still favoured dropping deep to pick up the ball on occasions. Cracked a wicked effort against the post in the first half but wasn’t allowed the same kind of space in the second period as Cardiff wised up to the playmaker.
Worked hard to put in the mileage on the right for the Magpies but didn’t really get into the promising positions that he has managed to find so often in the past. Was played through by Gouffran in the build up to the goal but was taken off late as Newcastle pushed for an equaliser.
Partnered Tiote in the centre of the park but rarely managed to assert himself in the tie. Would often come wide and help on the wings with some intricate passing but couldn’t fill the massive void left by Cabaye’s absence.
Displayed the odd touch that would suggest that not all confidence has been drained from his game but still strayed offside and frustrated his team-mates and supporters with wayward passes and mishit shots. Had the last laugh though as he got on the scoresheet.
Worked tirelessly when not in possession to win it back and constantly put McNaughton under pressure. Worked well with Haidara down the right and played a key part in Newcastle’s opener, delivering a long ball over the top for Sissoko.
Came on for the tiring Gouffran but didn’t get the opportunity to display his pace.
Came on after the Magpies went behind but couldn’t get into threatening positions.
On alongside Remy, the striker failed to conjure up a late chance