Mancini affirms Icardi faith after Udinese double

MILAN: Coach Roberto Mancini has insisted that he never doubted his captain Mauro Icardi after the striker scored two goals in Inter Milan’s 4-0 victory at Udinese in Serie A on Saturday.

Icardi has been in and out of the Inter team so far this season, and was hauled off at half time during the 2-1 defeat by Napoli last weekend.

His indifferent start to the season has prompted speculation of a rift with Mancini, while Icardi has also been linked with a move away from the San Siro.

"He put in a great performance," Mancini told Mediaset Premium. "I was never worried about him. He has scored six goals so far which is a good return. (Stevan) Jovetic also had a great game today as their understanding with one another is growing."

Icardi opened the scoring in the first half before adding Inter's third in the second period after a Jovetic effort had given the visitors control of the fixture.

Marcelo Brozovic added a fourth late on as Inter stormed to their 11th victory of the season.

Inter’s triumph over Udinese extends their lead at the topof Serie A to four points, although Napoli will reduce the advantage to just one if they beat Roma at home on Sunday.