Football: Spalletti pleased with Inter's ICC Singapore show

Inter Milan's Joao Miranda and Mauro Icardi (third from right) pose with the International Champions Cup Singapore trophy after their 2-1 win over Chelsea. The Italian side won both their matches against their more fancied opponents, having also defe
Inter Milan's Joao Miranda and Mauro Icardi (third from right) pose with the International Champions Cup Singapore trophy after their 2-1 win over Chelsea. The Italian side won both their matches against their more fancied opponents, having also defeated Bayern Munich.ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

Given last season's seventh-place finish in the Italian Serie A, Inter Milan were undoubtedly the underdogs going into the inaugural International Champions Cup (ICC) Singapore.

Yet, they defied the odds to lift the trophy with a 2-1 victory over Chelsea last night.

Bayern Munich and Chelsea, the two other teams in the ICC Singapore, had both won their domestic leagues and were hot favourites prior to the start of the tournament.

Speaking on the sidelines of Inter's first training session last Wednesday before the start of the tournament, new manager Luciano Spalletti, who moved from rivals Roma only last month, urged for more time to work with his new team but maintained his belief in the current squad of players.

The 58-year-old Italian praised the competitors and expressed his desire for the club to reach the same level, saying that he would use the tournament to experiment tactically as well as understand his charges.

The players must have heard Spalletti loud and clear as they ended their ICC Singapore campaign unbeaten with two wins, cruising past Bayern Munich 2-0 and then defeating Chelsea last night.

The Italian commended the team for stepping up to the plate against quality opposition.

He said: "Last season was difficult for the team. There were a lot of insecurities in the team when we came here (for the ICC).

"Playing against teams like Chelsea and Bayern wasn't easy. There was anxiety and apprehension. But their response was great. The team was playing very well; everything was what I had asked the team to be.

"We played very well until the 60th minute, after that, Chelsea started attacking us. There were a few minor mistakes that we did but I am pleased with the overall performance of the team."

Spurred on by his first trophy at Inter and the team's performance, Spalletti is confident of a better season ahead but insists that there is still work to be done.

He said: "On the positive side, I am surprised by the level of professionalism of the players. It looks like they have made a lot of progress since we started training together but I also have to say there were a few careless mistakes that were made after the 60th minute.

"But, overall, I am surprised by the team and I think we are heading in the right direction."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 30, 2017, with the headline 'Spalletti pleased with Inter's ICC Singapore show'. Print Edition | Subscribe