Serie A - Inter president Thohir gives Mazzarri backing

Inter Milan president Erick Thohir has assured under-fire coach Walter Mazzarri that he will be at the club next season as the team prepares to host Lazio on Saturday with both sides eyeing Europa League qualification.

Reuters
Serie A - Mazzarri: I'm staying at Inter
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Internazionale boss Walter Mazzarri (Reuters)

"Mazzarri is staying, he still has a contract and I want to respect that," Indonesian businessman Thohir told reporters after he landed at Milan's Malpensa Airport on Saturday.

Inter fans have been vocal to express their displeasure with an extremely patchy season in which the side sits in fifth place in Serie A with two matches remaining, a massive 39 points behind bitter rivals and newly crowned champions Juventus.

Inter are on 57 points, four ahead of 10th-placed Lazio with a cluster of clubs in between the pair all fighting for European places.

Mazarri came under further criticism after an insipid display last Sunday saw them lose 1-0 to local rivals AC Milan, who are eighth in the standings but level on 54 points with seventh-placed Parma.

Both Milan and Parma are only a point behind sixth-placed Torino, who occupy the final Europa League spot and host Parma on Sunday.

"I understand the fans, I'm not happy either but we need to give the manager a chance. It's important that we start next season with some stability in order to grow," Thohir added.

Saturday's match will also be Javier Zanetti's last at the San Siro should he be selected by Mazzarri, with the 40-year-old retiring at the end of the season after 19 years as an Inter player.

Thohir has said that the Argentine would take up an as-yet-unspecified role within the club.

Fans were unhappy with Mazzarri for not bringing Zanetti on from the bench during last weekend's derby defeat and he is also expected to be used as a substitute against Lazio.

"Today is a very important day for Zanetti and I'm very happy for him," Thohir said.

"I'm looking forward to working with him at the club, the final decision on his role will be made at the end of the season.

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