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Intenazionale coach Roberto Mancini paid tribute to the professionalism of his players after they came from behind to beat arch-rivals Milan 2-1 on Sunday.

Former Inter striker Ronaldo had given Milan a first-half lead but Julio Cruz equalised shortly after the re-start before Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored the winner.

“My players have shown a lot of professionalism,” said Mancini.

“It was a bitter blow for us to exit the European competition in Valencia.

“But my players have played well today and they deserved the win.’

The result allowed Inter to maintain their unbeaten run in Serie A this season and kept them 16 points clear of Roma, who beat Udinese 3-1 on Sunday night.

“If we continue like this, we can say that we have had an extraordinary season,’ said Mancini.

“What we now have do is to continue to do even better because I don’t think we will be able to repeat what we have done this season in the future.”

Former Milan striker Hernan Crespo admitted the win could not have come at a better time for the Nerazzurri.

“It has been a difficult week for us, considering what happened in Valencia,” he said.

“I think this derby has come at the right time and we are celebrating because it’s an important result for us. We have won both derbies this season and we hope to continue to do well.”

Ronaldo, meanwhile, was delighted to have scored in the derby but admitted Inter were the better side.

“I felt a lot of joy to have scored in the derby,” he said.

“Unfortunately, it wasn’t sufficient because we lost but I am nevertheless happy with my performance.

“We have faced an Inter side that have done really well so far and I think they deserved to win – they played a great match.”

Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti believes his team paid the price for their midweek exertions in the Champions League.

Milan needed extra-time to narrowly beat Celtic on Wednesday.

“In the second half, we lacked aggressiveness,” Ancelotti said.

“I think it was due to the fact that we gave a lot against Celtic and the players didn’t have much time to recover for this game.”

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