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Mancini: The Scudetto race is long - but Inter must go for it

Inter head coach Roberto Mancini says his side must consider themselves Serie A title contenders despite the season being just three games old.

Mancini's men moved top of the table with their third 1-0 victory of the campaign in Sunday's Milan derby, thanks to Fredy Guarin's fierce second-half strike.

While Mancini accepts that the current standings have little importance, he maintains that Inter's current form should give them confidence as they look to win their first league title since 2010.

"The table doesn't matter much now. The Scudetto race is long, we have work to do," he told Sky Sport Italia.

"We did some good things and some not so good things, but we're still at the start, so that's normal.

"As I said last week, big clubs must start out targeting the ultimate prize. Then you need luck, consistency and other things to go your way.

"We are only in week three and football can change in the space of 90 minutes. These results must give us the confidence to carry on this path.

"Other squads are better placed to win the Scudetto, but we are Inter and we must go for it."

Mancini was delighted with the efforts of debutants Ivan Perisic and Felipe Melo, as well as makeshift centre-back Gary Medel.

"Perisic played in a new role for him. He had some difficulties at first but then he improved," said the former Manchester City boss.

"Medel can play anywhere and there's almost always room in my team for him. He's clever, experienced, and it went well for him.

"I trained Melo at Galatasaray and he's a great player. He's experienced, can do everything and is determined – not in a bad way. He had a great game."

Mario Balotelli hit the post and forced Samir Handanovic into a smart save during a second-half cameo and Mancini admits his former City striker had him worried.

"Mario had us in trouble when he came on, we shouldn't have let him shoot," he added.

Inter are now six points ahead of Milan in the table and eight clear of champions Juventus.

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