Inter demand response from players

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Furious Inter Milan bosses have called on the Serie A club’s under performing players to “respect the shirt” after a stunning 5-4 defeat to Florentina dented hopes of a return to European football.

Inter last appeared in the Champions League with a last 16 appearance against Marseille in 2012.

But Italy’s last treble winners, who won the league, Cup and Champions League under Jose Mourinho in 2010, are struggling to even qualify for the Europa League.

After allowing Fiorentina to score four in 15 crazy second-half minutes at the Artemio Franchi Stadium, a third defeat in a five-game winless streak left the Serie A giants seven points adrift of fifth-placed Atalanta.

Less than a year after their takeover by Suning, the club’s Chinese owners would be forgiven for wondering if sacking Frank De Boer after an 85-day rollercoaster ride was the right decision.

“This isn’t the kind of end to the season worthy of a club like Inter, and we won’t accept it,” Inter manager Piero Ausilio raged at the players in comments to Corriere dello Sport on Monday.

“Start showing some character and bring your quality to the table. It is you who are responsible for this situation and it is you who must get us out of it. Start showing this jersey some respect.”

‘ROCK BOTTOM

Although the buck usually stops with the coach, Pioli on Saturday broke the mould when he indicated he no longer had control.

“This time, we’ve really hit rock bottom. We’ve stopped being a team,” lamented Pioli after the game.

“There’s no explanation for what happened. After a great first half, we suffered a complete blackout in the second half.”

It came a week after giving up a 2-1 derby lead over AC Milan to concede a last-gasp 2-2 draw at the San Siro, and followed successive defeats to relegation-haunted Crotone, and Sampdoria.

Inter went from holding a 2-1 halftime lead to trailing 5-2 with 11 minutes to play. Although captain Mauro Icardi hit a late brace to complete his hat-trick and reduced arrears to 5-4 in stoppages, it was too little too late.

After being pushed, rather reluctantly, in front of television cameras post-match Icardi claimed Inter “deserved” to play in Europe.

“With the squad we have we deserve to be playing the Europa League because our chances of Champions League football ended with the defeats to Sampdoria and Crotone,” Icardi told Mediaset Premium.

“We’ll see. We have five games left. Until May 28, we have to give every last drop and be as clinical as possible.”

Yet after years of relative success under the guidance of legendary club defender and captain Javier Zanetti, who won 16 trophies in 615 appearances for Inter before retiring in 2014, Icardi is flattering to deceive.

Despite taking his league tally to 24 goals on Saturday, the Argentine striker’s leadership qualities pale in comparison.

Earlier this season, Icardi was also forced to re-print his autobiography, written at the tender age of 23, because certain, embellished passages infuriated many ‘ultra’ fans of the club.

Icardi has also been left on the sidelines of the Argentina squad, reportedly because he snatched the wife of former Sampdoria teammate Maxi Lopez, Wanda Nara, with whom he now lives along with two of Lopez’s children.

Meanwhile, reports on Monday claimed Inter have given Chelsea manager Antonio Conte and former player Diego Simeone, coach of Atletico Madrid, three weeks to consider a lucrative offer to take over from next season.

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