Mancini: It smacked me right in the face!

The coach joked about an incident in which the ball was blasted into him from point-blank range as Inter beat Genoa 3-1 to record a first home Serie A win since October

Roberto Mancini laughed off getting hit “right in the face” and denied he was trying to pull off a save Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic would be proud of.

The coach was directing his players on the sidelines in Inter’s 3-1 victory over Genoa when the ball careered towards him at close range.

Unable to dodge Hernandes’ clearance, Mancini took the ball full to the face and crumbled to the floor in a heap but took the collision in good humour and, after laughing it off on the San Siro pitch, joked about it after the game too.

“I did not save the ball, I got right in the face!” when asked about the incident by Sky Sport. “It was not a pleasant experience, but I’m surviving.”

Mancini was pleased to have his first home Serie A win since returning to the club he won the Scudetto with during his first spell, which ended in 2008. He was, however, frustrated that his team’s tempo dropped in the latter 45 minutes.

“I am satisfied with the result and the first-half performance, but not the second half,” he added. “We lost intensity and that was to a degree expected with three forwards behind Icardi.

“We kept losing possession and that’s a problem when all three are short on match fitness. Lukas Podolski has always played that role, while Hernanes is learning and [Rodrigo] Palacio fits right in. [Fredy] Guarin has the physique to play there. If he learns and improves, then he can do it.

“We are working well, but a win won’t change our path. It was important to get the result today with this very attack-minded formation. It’s tough, but with the right fitness levels we can play like this regularly.”

Mancini added that he chose not to throw new signing Xherdan Shaqiri into his starting XI because he did not want to risk injury as the Swiss attacker is not fully fit.

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