Roberto Mancini says he “never thought” he would rejoin Inter

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Roberto Mancini is back at Inter, something few people would have expected just a few short years ago. But then again, soccer tends to do that – the unexpected.

After winning back-to-back Serie A titles at Inter during his reign from 2004-2008, Roberto Mancini had an unceremonious ending at the San Siro. But after rumors of Inter courting Jose Mourinho (that ended up being true) drove Mancini out of Italy, he is back in his home country.

And it’s not just surprising to us.

“I never thought I would return to Inter but they called me, we met, they explained the project to me and I think it can be another nice story,” Mancini said upon his appointment. “I believe in this project, otherwise I wouldn’t have accepted the job.”

With Inter struggling to recapture the table position fitting of such a storied club, one it hasn’t been able to muster since Mourinho’s departure, and one owner Erick Thorir is hoping to rebuild after his purchase in 2013.

The club is currently ninth in the table after just two wins in its last seven led to the firing of Walter Mazzerri. Since finishing second in the 2010/11 season under Leonardo – who ultimately left for a director of football position at PSG – the club has finished sixth, ninth, and fifth, barely squeaking into European competition in two of those years and missing out altogether once.

“I do not have a magic wand,” said Mancini. “We have to get back to winning via hard work. Inter is a great club and I am very happy to have accepted even if when you return to a place where you’ve done good work then there’s everything to lose.”

While Mancini’s record in European competition has left plenty to be desired both at Inter and beyond, that’s not the job description at the moment. Mancini has to get Inter back to the upper echelon of the table before he has the chance to turn around his European record.

“I need to get to know the squad first before seeing what we need,” said Mancini, with January fast approaching. “It’s not so easy to sign players in January, as he either has to be a world class star or you risk signing someone who struggles to adapt quickly.”

Whether Mancini can repeat his Serie A magic with this squad remains to be seen, but for now, the world watches the San Siro for signs of life.