Mancini 'sorry' Inter knocked out Qarabag

The coach praised the performance of the eliminated hosts in Thursday’s stalemate, though he was also impressed with how his young players fought for a point


Inter coach Roberto Mancini expressed his sympathy to Qarabag after his team’s 0-0 draw on Thursday knocked them out of the Europa League.

The Nerazzurri had already qualified for the last-32 of the second-tier European tournament heading into the final Group F games, with Dnipro leapfrogging Qarabag into second after a 1-0 win at home to Saint-Etienne.

The Azerbaijan hosts were controversially denied a 94th-minute winner, which would have sent them into the knockout stages, and the former Manchester City boss was sympathetic towards the eliminated opposition.

“It was a good performance from us and both teams fought hard,” Mancini told Mediaset. “We played well even with three or four youngsters on the field.

“We were only missing a goal from our showing, but it was tough as they wanted victory at all costs. I above all liked our character. Qarabag are a good team and I’m sorry that, despite this, they were unable to qualify for the round of 32.

“Qarabag had other chances as well as the late ruled out ‘goal’ and, if they had scored those, the game would’ve gone differently. In any case, I must compliment them on their performance.

“This was a useful away game and we were able to use players who needed to find match fitness. Now our minds must go to our game with Chievo on Monday and we need to start racking up points quickly.”

Inter have only won one of their first five games since Mancini returned to San Siro following Walter Mazzarri’s sacking in mid-November.

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