Date: Wednesday, January 30th, 2015
Time: 11:30 am ET/ 17:30 CET
Venue: Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium; Doha, Qatar
The festivities are over for Mancini and his men and they are turning their attention to the second half of the season. In order to prep for the remainder of the campaign the team had a winter training camp in Qatar which culminates in a friendly match against Ligue 1 runaway leaders PSG.
The two sides met in a similar winter friendly last season in Morocco. On that occasion the French side won 1-0 thanks to a Yohan Cabaye goal. This time both sides meet leading their respective leagues, though the strength of their leads are very different. While Inter has a precarious one point lead over the chasing pack, PSG has a whopping 19 point gap over second placed Monaco. Regardless, Mancini will be going into this match expecting his side will put on a strong performance and help him determine how he wants to line up his team for the upcoming Serie A match against Empoli on January 6.
There hasn't been much news about who is available for the match and who isn't. During the training camp Vidic has been seen practicing with the rest of the squad following his long-term injury so he could see some playing time. Outside of that expect to see Mancini mixing things up yet again both in terms of personnel and formations.
During the press conference before the match Jovetic talked about how none of the rumors of a big confrontation after the Lazio loss were true. He played up the team's chemistry and reaffirmed that the club's goals were making it back into the Champions League and a Scudetto challenge was just an added bonus. Mancini stressed that there were no problems between him and Vidic and interestingly told the reporters that he would be talking to PSG coach Laurent Blanc about long-rumored Inter target Ezequiel Lavezzi. It's hard to tell when Mancini is joking during these press conferences but this will further fuel reports of Inter's pursuit of the 30 year old winger.
If both sides take this match seriously then it could be a decent indicator of where Inter is in its progression to return to European matches. It's more likely though that the game will be used to assess fitness levels and new tactics so I wouldn't expect to read too much out of the match in terms of how the rest of the season will go. Either way, Inter is finally taking the pitch again so that's something to smile about.