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By ESPN Staff

Mancini takes the blame for Inter's Euro exit

MILAN, April 5 (Reuters) - Inter Milan's exit from the Champions League at the hands of Spain's Villarreal has condemned the Italian side to another year without a major trophy and is already raising questions about the future of coach Roberto Mancini.

Inter owner Massimo Moratti is not noted for his patience - Mancini is the ninth full-time coach at the helm since Moratti took over the club in 1995.

After the 1-0 defeat in Spain on Tuesday resulted in Inter's elimination at the quarter-final stage, reports said Moratti spent 40 minutes in the team dressing room with the players and Mancini.

When asked about his future, Mancini hardly struck a note of defiance saying: 'At the moment I am still the coach of Inter, nothing has been said to me. Let's see what happens.

'I am disappointed, very disappointed but unfortunately moments like this happen in the career of a coach. I will get through this as well,' he added, saying he took responsibility for the defeat.

Inter president Giacinto Facchetti was scathing in his assessment of Inter's performance.

'After a first half in which neither side had any shots on goal, we let in a goal in the second half and you couldn't see any reaction from us. We actually risked letting in more goals.

'It is incomprehensible how it was only in the last five minutes that we managed to give a semblance of a reaction,' said the man who Moratti has placed in direct charge of the club.

'The team is failing to perform when there is a goal to reach. There was no question of us underestimating Villarreal, but they were definitely an opponent within our reach. We did too little, we lacked the necessary grit, belief and determination to reach an important goal,' said Facchetti.

Asked about the future of Mancini, the Inter president said: 'Right now we're disappointed about the result and the elimination, but I don't see why we should change all the good work done up to now'.

A distant third in Serie A, 11 points behind leaders Juventus, Inter have the Italian Cup as their only chance of a trophy this season although given the lowly status of that competition it can hardly be considered compensation for another poor campaign.

Inter have once again failed to mount a challenge for the 'scudetto' they have been unable to win since 1989 but it would be a surprise if Mancini were to be dismissed before the end of the season.

The club still have a chance of catching AC Milan in the race for second place which brings automatic qualification for next season's Champions League, with the derby on April 15 offering a chance to overtake their rivals.

Mancini may survive the immediate aftermath of the Villarreal defeat but a loss in the derby could really test Moratti's patience.