Milan, Dec 16: Roberto Mancini claimed his first win as Inter Milan coach following his return to the club after goals from Mateo Kovacic and Andrea Ranocchia gave them a 2-0 victory over Serie A strugglers Chievo on Monday.
Mancini, who spent four success-laden years with the Nerazzurri from 2004-2008, took over in time for the Milan derby last month but after a 1-1 draw the 50-year-old was handed a reality check following defeats to Roma (4-2) and Udinese (2-1).
Mancini, who aims to end Inter's two-year absence from the Champions League with a third-place finish this season, saw his side move up one place to 11th to close the gap on Lazio, who presently occupy that third spot, to just six points -- although it was a far from straightforward affair at the Bentegodi Stadium.
Mancini told Sky Sport: "It was an important win because it has closed our deficit and given us confidence.
"Chievo are a good side, we didn't concede so I'm relatively happy."
Chievo coach Rolando Maran said: "We're disappointed because we were dangerous and created a lot of chances.
"I'm sorry for the result, but I can't complain about the players' attitude."
Inter had to rely on the heroics of Samir Handanovic throughout a one-sided first half that saw Chievo, fourth from bottom but unbeaten in their past five games, test the Slovenian 'keeper on several occasions.
Handanovic saved Inter's blushes inside 10 minutes when Alberto Paloschi pounced on a mis-hit pass only to be denied from point-blank range. AFP