Inter Milan players were left stunned by coach Roberto Mancini’s announcement he will leave the club in the summer.
Despite having a four-year contract with the Nerazzurri, Mancini announced his wish to leave the club shortly after his team’s elimination from the Champions League at the hands of Liverpool last night.
Although Mancini revealed he had made up his mind prior to the European encounter, his players could not believe the news.
“I didn’t know anything about this,” said striker Julio Cruz. “But then again in the heat of the moment many things are said.
“Obviously it’s his decision and I don’t know what he is thinking, it’s difficult to say something.
“We just have to look ahead and end the campaign in the best possible way.”
Argentina midfielder Esteban Cambiasso is hopeful Mancini will reconsider.
“We must remain calm and not make any comments on the spur of the moment,” he said.
“From what I heard, he said the word ‘probably’, so we will try to rest and then think about this some more in the coming days when we’ve all cooled down.
“We are disappointed just as he is.”
The 43-year-old coach joined Inter from Lazio in 2004 and led the club to back-to-back Serie A titles in 2006 and 2007.
Inter, who only last weekend celebrated their centenary, are still on course to win two trophies.
The Nerazzurri lead the Serie A standings with a six-point advantage over Scudetto hopefuls Roma with 11 games remaining, and will take on Lazio next month in the Coppa Italia semi-finals.
Reports in Italy have linked Jose Mourinho to the Inter hotseat in recent weeks, while Liverpool’s Rafael Benitez has also been rumoured to be a candidate for a San Siro switch in the summer.
However, former Chelsea boss Gianluca Vialli believes Mancini’s decision may not be a definite one.
“Perhaps it’s just a way to ask the club to give him a boost in confidence,” said Vialli.
“Mancini had put his future in the hands of (Inter president Massimo) Moratti and now it’s Inter’s turn to do something.”