MILAN (Reuters) - Inter Milan coach Roberto Mancini has been sacked, the Italian champions said on Thursday.
Media reports have said Jose Mourinho, out of work since leaving Chelsea in September, is poised to take over.
Mancini’s future had been in doubt since Inter’s defeat by Liverpool in the last 16 of the Champions League in March, when he said he would quit at the end of the season only to change his mind the next day.
“FC Internazionale have informed Roberto Mancini that he has been sacked as coach, in particular because of the comments made by the coach at the end of the Inter-Liverpool match,” a statement on the club Web site (www.inter.it) said.
Club president Massimo Moratti held a short meeting with Mancini on Tuesday and after two days of speculation, the club have confirmed his departure.
Mancini won three consecutive Italian league titles with Inter but this season they almost threw it away, only sealing the scudetto on the final day having let an 11-point lead in February get whittled down to one.
Several other factors have led to the 43-year-old leaving, with four years left on his contract.
Relations with the club’s medical staff became stretched after Mancini criticised their methods while the coach was also at odds with Moratti after deciding not to play Luis Figo.
Mancini, who took charge in 2004, had also not spoken to Italian media for several weeks after a number of stories he was unhappy with.
Saturday’s Italian Cup final defeat by AS Roma proved to be his final match in charge.
Club officials have said during the recent uncertainty that Mancini’s job would have been safe had he not made the shock comment in March about wanting to leave.
The coach has said since that the pain of going out of the Champions League had coloured his view and he did not mean it.
The former Fiorentina and Lazio boss has been named in the media as a possible candidate for the vacant Chelsea job following Avram Grant’s sacking. Grant had taken over from Mourinho at the English Premier League club.
Mourinho won titles with Chelsea in 2005 and 2006 but left last September after his relationship with club owner Roman Abramovich broke down.
The charismatic Portuguese has long been linked with the Inter hot seat and media reports said he held a meeting with club officials in March. Both parties denied the story.
Mourinho is highly respected after leading unfancied Porto to Champions League glory in 2004 and reaching two semi-finals with Chelsea.
Inter won the European Cup in 1964 and 1965 but have since flattered to deceive in the continent’s premier club competition.
The 45-year-old Mourinho ruled himself out of the England job in December before Fabio Capello was appointed and said he was keen on working in Italy or Spain.
Editing by Rex Gowar