Moratti less trigger happy than 10 years ago

MILAN - Inter Milan chief Massimo Moratti would have been sharpening his axe for coach Rafael Benitez had their recent run of bad form come 10 years ago but the club president says experience has made him less trigger happy.

Moratti was renowned for hiring and firing managers quickly until he finally found title success with Roberto Mancini and Jose Mourinho.

Current coach Benitez was under the microscope after losing to Tottenham Hotpsur in the Champions League and dropping to sixth in Serie A following a derby defeat by AC Milan but wins over Twente Enschede and Parma eased the pressure.

Asked if he would have axed Spaniard Benitez 10 years ago under the same circumstances, Moratti told reporters late on Monday: "Maybe, yes. But you know, experience helps."

Moratti also played down speculation the injury-hit European champions could try to sign Sampdoria striker Antonio Cassano, who has been suspended by the club and could be released by a arbitration hearing on Friday after clashing with the president.

"It's fantasy football, the rumours aren't true," he said, adding that efforts to recruit Genoa defender Andrea Ranocchia in January were under way but that reaching a deal was proving difficult.

Media reports on Tuesday linked Cassano with Juventus, who are coached by former Samp boss Luigi Del Neri.