Kuzmanovic: Champions League return is in Inter's sights

The Serbia international is in no doubt that they can turn their season around under new boss Roberto Mancini despite the team currently lying in lowly 11th

Zdravko Kuzmanovic is adamant that Inter can finish third this season and called on the club’s fans to get behind their Champions League push.

The San Siro side endured a poor start to the Serie A season, with their form ultimately leading to president Erick Thohir’s decision to fire Walter Mazzarri last month and replace him at the helm with former Nerazzurri boss Roberto Mancini.

The former Italy international’s second spell in charge has begun with a derby draw with AC Milan and a 4-2 defeat at Roma, but Inter remain just six points shy of third-placed Napoli.

Consequently, Kuzmanovic is still dreaming of Champions League football next season, with the Serbia international having been buoyed by last weekend’s performance at the Stadio Olimpico, as well as Mancini’s arrival.

“The atmosphere [in the dressing room] has improved, undoubtedly,” the midfielder told the Gazzetta dello Sport. “There’s no longer the tension of some weeks back.

“We played well at Roma and created some chances, although we lost and this cannot make us happy.

“But we left the Stadio Olimpico with the feeling that we can fight for third place.

“Against Roma we showed that we can play against anyone because we went to their home and and scored two goals, twice coming from behind.

“We showed character and could have obtained a positive result.

“This gives me confidence and as long as it’s mathematically possible, I will fight for third place.”

However, Kuzmanovic believes that Inter’s fans must stop being so quick to get on the players’ backs when they play at the Giuseppe Meazza if they are to achieve their goals.

“I understand the fans’ feelings and the whistles, given things are not going well,” the 27-year-old said.

“But, at the moment, we need their support because when we’re playing at San Siro we must feel at home and not as if we’re away.”

On a personal level, Kuzmanovic admitted that he is delighted to have been restored to the starting line-up, with the former Basel man having been selected Mancini’s first three games at the helm in all competitions.

Indeed, he admitted that he has previously considered leaving Inter in search of regular first-team football.

“My first idea was to stay here but I’m 27 and I love to play,” he explained. “Therefore, at times, I thought about alternative solutions.

“Having said that, I’m a professional and when I play I give 100 per cent. When I’m on the bench, I accept it.

“But we’ll see now. Up until a month ago, I wasn’t playing, so who knows what will happen in a few weeks? I’m living day by day. In football, you never know.

“Certainly, though, in the last season of my career I will play where I started: Basel.”

Kuzmanovic left the Swiss club for Fiorentina in 2007 before joining Stuttgart two years later.

However, he returned to Serie A in January of last year, joining Inter for an undisclosed fee.

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