Football: Stefano Pioli facing calls for his head with Inter's season derailing

Fiorentina midfielder Borja Valero (centre) fights for the ball with Inter Milan midfielder Gary Medel during the match on April 22.
Fiorentina midfielder Borja Valero (centre) fights for the ball with Inter Milan midfielder Gary Medel during the match on April 22. PHOTO: AFP

Milan (AFP) - Inter Milan captain Mauro Icardi launched a late-season rallying call following an "unexplainable" second-half collapse in a 5-4 defeat to Fiorentina that dented the Nerazzurri's hopes of Europa League football.

"If you ask me, with the squad we have, we deserve to be playing the Europa League because our chances of Champions League football ended with the defeats to Sampdoria and Crotone," Icardi told Mediaset Premium.

"We'll see. We have five games left. Until May 28, we have to give every last drop and be as clinical as possible."

Yet after another topsy-turvy performance, Inter's hopes of a top-five finish and entry to Europe's second tier event look slim.

The Nerazzurri will be seven points behind the Europa League places if Lazio, currently fifth and two points behind fourth-placed Atalanta, beat Palermo on Sunday.

Inter travelled to the Artemio Franchi desperate for their first win in five league outings.

But despite responding to Matias Vecino's 23rd-minute opener with goals from Ivan Perisic and Icardi in the 34th minute, Stefano Pioli's men suffered a dramatic second-half collapse in the space of 17 minutes that saw them concede a penalty as well as three goals before launching a futile, last-gasp revival with a brace from Icardi.

Inter's third defeat in a five-game winless run leaves the Nerazzurri in seventh place and, less than a year after their takeover by the Chinese Suning group, still out of Europe.

Inter host Napoli, in third and locked in a battle for a top-two finish with Roma, next week and Pioli told Sky Sport: "There's no justification for our performance. We had an unexplainable blackout.

"It seems that in this period, we just don't know how to respond to certain difficulties. This is a big handicap, because football is full of challenges.

"We have to try to make sure this doesn't happen again."

The defeat has left Pioli, who replaced sacked Frank De Boer two months into the campaign, facing the sack at the end of the season.

Icardi added: "In this period, nothing is going right. Now, it's up to the club to speak and we'll see what happens."