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Moratti: Inter made a mistake appointing Benitez

Former Inter president Massimo Moratti has admitted it was a mistake to replace Jose Mourinho with Rafael Benitez when the Portuguese coach left the club for Real Madrid in 2010.

Mourinho had just won the treble with Inter when he departed for the Spanish capital, ending a two-year association with the Italian giants.

And Moratti has admitted he went after the wrong coach, criticising Benitez for the way he tried to distance the club from the memories of the treble-winning season.

"We went after the wrong coach," Moratti told reporters.

"Benitez was alert and prepared, a great connoisseur of football, but there was a huge difference in terms of his character and how he communicated with club.

"Benitez felt the weight of wanting to win everything, but asked that everything that happened in the past be forgotten.

"We were afraid to look back and be proud of what we had done.

"We could not celebrate, and so there was no longer the enthusiasm of the previous season."

Benitez, who is managing Newcastle United in the Premier League, was appointed as Inter coach in June 2010 and sacked in December, after turning Mourinho's treble winners into hopeless title chasers, 13 points off the league leaders.

The club have struggled since but have enjoyed an improved season under former Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini.

Mancini had Inter flying high at the start of the season, but a mid-season capitulation has seen the club fall to fourth, some 18 points off Juventus in first.

But still, fighting for Champions League qualification is a marked improvement on recent seasons for Inter and Moratti is hopeful of bigger and better things under Mancini.

"We believe and we remain hopeful," Moratti said. "Mancini [battled back] in England … and he can do it again."