International Champions Cup Singapore

Football: New coach plots Inter resurgence

Inter Milan coach Luciano Spaletti speaking to the media.ST VIDEO: NICHOLAS DE SILVA
Inter Milan captain Mauro Icardi training with his team-mates at the Bishan Stadium. The Serie A side are set to play with a three-man defence against Bayern Munich tonight.
Inter players Tommaso Berni (right) and Federico Valietti learning how to make local coffee at Amoy Street Food Centre. Berni noted that kopi-o is very different from Italian espresso but enjoyed the beverage.
Inter players Tommaso Berni (right) and Federico Valietti learning how to make local coffee at Amoy Street Food Centre. Berni noted that kopi-o is very different from Italian espresso but enjoyed the beverage.
Inter Milan captain Mauro Icardi training with his team-mates at the Bishan Stadium. The Serie A side are set to play with a three-man defence against Bayern Munich tonight. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES FOR ICC

Spalletti believes players can improve, sets target of qualifying for Champions League

He might be just beginning his reign at the club, but manager Luciano Spalletti has announced yesterday his desire to restore Inter Milan to their former glories, starting with Champions League qualification next season.

Speaking on the sidelines of the club's training session at Bishan Stadium ahead of the International Champions Cup (ICC) Singapore, the Italian who joined from rivals Roma last month said: "Our goal is to get to fourth position. The bare minimum is to get back to the Champions League."

But the 58-year-old was realistic about his targets, admitting that a title challenge would be tough given their 24-point gap from the top three Serie A clubs last season.

"It is possible that the top three might underperform this year, but at the end of the day we are Internazionale we cannot count on that to happen. We have to count on our own strength," he said of the 18-time Serie A champions, who won the Champions League in 2010.

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He maintained his faith in the squad when discussing transfer activity.

"We need time to understand each player. I feel each one can play better this year and form the foundation. We can't count on new players coming in," he added.

New signing Milan Skriniar, 22, echoed his manager's ambition.

"We have a successful history and a very strong team of players... I believe we can achieve the Champions League spot with the current team," said the defender.

OLD GUARD TO RESTORE PAST GLORIES

I feel each one can play better this year and form the foundation. We can't count on new players coming in.

LUCIANO SPALLETTI , Inter manager, does not feel he has to make more signings.

Addressing transfer rumours, Spalletti revealed that no formal offer has been made for Chelsea target Antonio Candreva but left the door open for Ivan Perisic to make a potential exit.

"We want to keep Perisic as he is a very important player in the team and we are counting on him to start the new season but if somebody comes in with a very difficult offer to reject then we'll consider," he explained.

On a lighter note, players Tommaso Berni and Federico Valietti brewed up a storm at Amoy Street Food Centre yesterday.

They visited 82-year-old stall Coffee Break, where they learned how to make kopi-o from third generation owner Jack Sai.

After a brief demonstration by Sai, the duo took turns to replicate the process and stayed true to tradition, finishing off with the signature tarik - pulling the coffee.

The players and their Italian entourage enjoyed the local beverage, with most nodding in approval.

"It's completely different. In Italy we usually take espresso which is short and strong but this is longer. It has a great taste and nice smell. I really like it," raved Berni, 34.

"I really must thank (Jack) for giving me this chance. I really enjoy going around to see different cultures," added the goalkeeper.

It was not all fun and games for the Nerazzurri as they geared up for their opening ICC Singapore fixture tonight at the National Stadium against Bayern Munich, who began their campaign with a 3-2 victory over Chelsea on Tuesday.

Spalletti intends to use this opportunity to experiment and learn more about his new team.

"I'm going to try playing with a three-man defence," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 27, 2017, with the headline 'New coach plots inter resurgence'. Print Edition | Subscribe