May 9, 2017 / 9:08 PM / 3 months ago

Inter Milan sack manager Pioli after winless run

Football Soccer - Inter Milan v Napoli - Italian Serie A - San Siro Stadium, Milan, Italy - 30/04/2017 Inter Milan's coach Stefano Pioli during the match against Napoli.Stefano Rellandini

(Reuters) - Inter Milan have sacked manager Stefano Pioli after a run of seven league games without a win, the club said in a statement on Tuesday.

It was Inter's second managerial change of another disappointing season, with the club seventh in Serie A.

Youth coach Stefano Vecchi will take charge of the remaining games of the campaign.

Former Lazio coach Pioli succeeded Frank de Boer in November and got off to a promising start by winning eight of his first 10 league games in charge.

That ignited a push for a return to the Champions League although those hopes were extinguished by a 2-1 defeat at home to Sampdoria at the start of April, the first of five losses in their next six games.

Inter, who have won 18 Serie A titles, are 29 points adrift of leaders and historic rivals Juventus in the standings and have suffered a steep decline in recent seasons.

Inter monopolised the title in the five years following the Calciopoli corruption scandal in 2006 which saw Juventus relegated.

In 2010 they completed a treble of the league, domestic Cup and Champions League under Jose Mourinho, who left for Real Madrid after lifting the club's third European Cup.

Inter have struggled since the Portuguese's departure, however, and Pioli was their ninth coach in seven years.

The club's fall has coincided with the decline of Serie A, which has struggled to keep pace commercially with the Premier League and La Liga, while Juventus have dominated on the pitch and are now on the verge of winning a sixth consecutive title.

Inter were purchased by Chinese retail giant Suning Commerce Group last June, the second time the club has changed hands in three years.

That prompted a close-season spending spree on new arrivals such as Joao Mario and Antonio Candreva in a bid to improve on their fourth-placed finish the previous season.

The new campaign got off on the wrong note, however, beginning with a loss at Chievo and a draw at home to Palermo and a shock 2-0 defeat at home to Israeli side Hapoel Beer Sheva. A first win over Juventus in four years could not save De Boer and now Pioli has met the same fate six months later.

Pioli's sacking was announced at around the same time as Juventus booked their place in the Champions League final, with their current dominance of Italian football contrasting with Inter's predicament.

Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Toby Davis

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