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 By Ben Gladwell

Inter Milan coach Roberto Mancini targets Lucas Leiva, Alessio Cerci

Inter Milan coach Roberto Mancini has admitted an interest in Liverpool's Lucas Leiva and Atletico Madrid's Alessio Cerci as the winter transfer market approaches.

Mancini, 50, returned to the San Siro in November to replace the sacked Walter Mazzarri for his second spell in charge of the Nerazzurri, and has emphasised the need to invest in a side which heads into 2015 lying 11th in Serie A.

The former Manchester City boss revealed that Tottenham winger Aaron Lennon is not a target, but admits it is going to be hard to bring in any of his preferred signings this winter.

"Inter have got to look to improve on many fronts and if we are lucky enough to get the new players we want for the roles we are currently lacking in, then that would be much better," Mancini said at a news conference after his side's 2-2 draw with Lazio on Sunday evening.

"We've never discussed Lennon -- he's never been one of our targets -- but we have talked about other players and let's see if we manage to get one of them. Cerci could be an objective, but he's currently an Atletico Madrid player and we would have to wait a while, but we're lacking players in plenty of positions.

"[Lucas Leiva] is a great player, but he belongs to Liverpool and it's going to be hard to get him. He would be useful, though, as he could help our younger players grow."

Cerci, 27, has struggled for game time with the Liga champions since a summer move from Torino.

Even with new signings to strengthen the squad this winter, Mancini has called for patience.

"We know that we need to improve and we also knew that we would make mistakes along the way," he added. "You cannot become Barcelona or Bayern Munich in a month. It takes time.

"I think we're also showing a bit of fear, particularly when games appear to be slipping away from us, but I'm sure with time we can get over this too. I'm not saying we will eliminate all our mistakes, but we just need to be cleverer."

Inter's aim at the start of the season was to challenge for a Champions League qualifying spot. Although the Nerazzurri are 11th at the turn of the year, they are only six points behind Lazio, Napoli and Sampdoria, who all currently share third place.

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