Figo joins queue waiting to stick knife in Mancini

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Roberto Mancini has been walking around with a look of the condemned man for a number of weeks.

Now his fate has finally been sealed when he threw himself to the hounds during the press conference ahead of Wednesday evening’s Italian Cup semi-final at Lazio.

The media room at Inter’s Appiano Gentile training complex was overflowing with expectant hacks gently perspiring on the hottest day of the year so far.

Unleash the hounds! Mancio doomed after criticising Moratti

They all knew that il Mancio would not let Massimo Moratti’s barbed attack on his tactics and, worse of all, the assertion that the team lacked heart and courage in the derby go.

In a Del boy-like moment after Sunday’s defeat to AC Milan, the Nerazzurri owner summed up the team’s performance something along the lines of, “he who dares, wins.”

As gruff as a ticket inspector on the Milan metro, the coach’s retort left no room for argument.

“If that is how Moratti sees it then he is free to do so but I do not agree,” he said. “There is no such thing as not brave enough and we have never played for a draw, not in a derby nor any other game.”

It was worthy of a Greek tragedy felt the editorial in Corriere dello Sport.

“The father-son relationship has broken down and the final betrayal is at hand,” taking the drama of Jose Mourinho’s arrival to new heights.

Yes, the Special One is lurking in the shadows and whenever the Portuguese schemer’s name is mentioned an icy atmosphere descends around the Inter camp, elevated only by Luis Figo’s jig of delight on the sidelines.

The winger is no longer on speaking terms with Mancini so he has been more than happy to stoke the fires.

Luis Figo: Inter's smiling assassin

As he told La Gazzetta dello Sport: “I was thinking of retiring at the end of the season but when I broke my leg back in November I decided I wanted to play on."

“I don’t know where that will be but I would love to be coached by Mourinho before I call it a day.”

Ah, that cold blade between Mancini’s shoulders and if Inter finally put the league beyond doubt on Sunday he should be careful who he embraces in the corridors of the San Siro afterwards.