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For­mer Ajax boss took over from Roberto Mancini as coach of In­ter­nazionale two weeks be­fore the start of the Serie A cam­paign.

The changes were one of the first acts of In­ter’s new own­ers, the Chi­nese elec­tron­ics gi­ant Sun­ing, who splashed out 270m for a 68.55 per cent stake in the club in June, ef­fec­tively tak­ing over own­er­ship from Erick Tho­hir, the In­done­sian who bought a ma­jor­ity share­hold­ing from his­toric In­ter owner Mas­simo Mo­ratti three years ago.

Mancini’s de­par­ture did not ex­actly come out of the blue. Re­port­edly side­lined and left out of the loop re­gard­ing trans­fer ac­tiv­ity. Many at In­ter were dis­ap­pointed with a fourth-place fin­ish last sea­son af­ter they had been top at Christ­mas. Club in­sid­ers felt that in his se­cond sea­son in charge – and with a squad of players largely of his own choos­ing: Marcelo Bro­zovic, Ge­of­frey Kon­dog­bia, Felipe Melo, Ivan Perisic, Jei­son Murillo and Mi­randa to name just a few – Mancini might have done bet­ter.

His cause was hardly helped by some poor friendly re­sults, with In­ter los­ing to CSKA Sofia, Paris Saint-Ger­main, Bay­ern Mu­nich and, most em­bar­rass­ingly, 6-1 to Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur.

Paddy Agnew

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