Ausilio switches focus to domestic matters

MILAN – Victory over Dnipro means that Inter have qualified for the UEFA Europa League knockout stage with a game to spare. There could hardly have been a better present for Roberto Mancini on the day of his 50th birthday.

After the match, sporting director Piero Ausilio took stock of Inter’s Europe displays so far this season, starting with tonight’s performance.

“We went about the task in a determined fashion and showed just how much the Europa League means to us. We weren’t firing on all cylinders in the first half but after the break – despite being a man short – our qualities came to the fore. We played with grit and determination and tactically we were set out well too. Playing with ten men is not a problem if everyone weighs in.

“Dnipro are decent side and the fact we’ve beaten them home and away is testament to how well we’ve done. We’ve tackled the group stage magnificently and made sure we’re free of worries going into the last game. It means we can give a bit of playing time to some of our youngsters and those who featured less.”

The sporting director was asked about Konoplyanka. “He’s a player we know well and we’re not the only ones. He’s a very handy player and he’s been doing well for a few years now. I can say that I rate him and that we know all about him but that doesn’t mean Inter are interested in him.”

Ausilio signed off with a few words about what lies ahead, starting with Sunday’s clash against Roma at the Olimpico. “We have to take each game as it comes and prepare for them all as thoroughly as we possibly can. Now we have a chance to focus on the league and the Coppa Italia until February. We’re five points off third place but there are plenty of games left to play.”