Luciano Spalletti aims to return Inter Milan to the UEFA Champions League, but admits his side need to make up a lot of ground on their rivals to achieve this.
The former Roma coach left the Italian capital to succeed Stefano Pioli as Inter boss earlier this month, agreeing a two-year contract with the 18-times champions. In doing so, he left a side he led to second place in Serie A last season, for one five positions below.
But there is little doubt that Inter are the bigger of the two teams, and as such their ambitions are likely to be higher. Spalletti has set a first major milestone of returning the Nerazzurri to the Champions League, but he accepts he and his team are some way short just yet.
“Our duty is to feel like Champions League qualification is a minimum requirement,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport. “However, looking at the last season, we’d need another nine or 10 victories to bridge the gap with the top three. That’s not forgetting that those three are also reinforcing. Before any of that, let me look my players in the eye and see how they react to my suggestions.”
Inter are affected by Financial Fair Play regulations this summer which means they need to sell before they can buy, with Ivan Perisic amongst those linked with an exit. Jose Mourinho, who led the side to the treble in 2010, is said to be keen on luring the winger to Manchester United.
As for incomings, Spalletti has made no secret of his desire to sign Fiorentina pair Federico Bernardeschi and Borja Valero, and could also plan a reunion with three of his former Roma charges – Antonio Rudiger, Radja Nainggolan, and Wojciech Szczesny who is contracted to Arsenal.