'I don't know if I will be here on Wednesday' – De Boer unsure on future amid sack speculation

A 2-1 defeat to Atalanta on Sunday was the Nerazzurri’s third straight Serie A defeat, leaving the coach unsure if he will oversee their next game against Torino

Under-pressure Inter head coach Frank de Boer says he does not know if he will still be in charge for Wednesday’s home match against Torino.

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Reports in Italy have claimed the former Ajax boss is on the brink of being sacked after Sunday’s 2-1 defeat away to Atalanta.

The setback was Inter’s third consecutive Serie A loss and leaves them 14th in the table with only 11 points after nine matches of the campaign.

“I don’t know if I will still be here on Wednesday,” De Boer told reporters.

“It’s a difficult time for everyone – and for me in particular – but the only thing I can do is to continue to work hard.

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“It’s always difficult when you lose three matches in a row but I know that we can improve a lot and we saw that in the second half of this game.”

An 88th-minute Mauricio Pinilla penalty condemned Inter to defeat against Atalanta after Eder’s superb strike looked to have salvaged a point following Andrea Masiello’s headed opener.

As well as their poor start to Serie A since De Boer replaced Roberto Mancini in August, Inter have lost two of their first three matches in the Europa League, but the Dutchman hopes he still has the faith of the club’s hierarchy.

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“President [Erick] Thohir and [club owners] Suning are not in Italy but they are right behind the team,” he added.

“I feel the club’s confidence in me but we need a win to turn things around.”

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The Belgium international is the latest high-profile figure to fall out of favour at the Etihad Stadium under Pep Guardiola.

He remains under contract until the summer of 2019 but if the exit door is opened in January, then Inter intend to be at the front of the queue for the 30-year-old centre-back.


De Boer praises Icardi mentality amid ultras row

The Argentine striker has caused uproar among a section of the club’s fans due to criticisms in his autobiography, but he has won the support of his boss

Mauro Icardi’s mentality has been praised by Inter head coach Frank de Boer despite sections of the club’s support calling for the striker to be stripped of the captaincy. 

Inter ultras have hit out at the Argentina forward after he criticised them in his autobiography, with the club’s president Javier Zanetti critical of Icardi as a result.

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But De Boer backed his skipper after he faced down the critics in a 1-0 win over Southampton in the Europa League on Thursday.

“Icardi played very well against Southampton and worked hard off the ball,” De Boer said ahead of Sunday’s Serie A game at Atalanta. 

“He always wants to score, but in my view he sent a signal to the team: ‘I am the captain and I am the first to work hard’.

“It was not easy, but I am happy with what he did. Tomorrow is going to be a difficult match and I want to see how my team is doing. We have our philosophy and in my view in the second part of the Southampton game we played better.”

While Icardi continues to face criticism, there has also been speculation about De Boer’s future, but the Dutchman is unconcerned about rumours he could be replaced.

“I just focus on working hard, as it’s the only thing I can do right now,” he said. “I have faith in everyone.

“My squad is made up of many men and it’s natural to be unhappy when you don’t play. I am very honest. Only 11 can start, so I must make my choices. It’s not easy, but that’s my job.”

De Boer hinted he will change his tactics against Atalanta, with midfielder Ever Banega among those who may be in line to take on a different role.

“At times it is better to play with a more advanced midfielder like Banega, at others with more defensive profiles,” he said. “The work of the full-backs is also important, but above all the mentality. We must attack the space, just as Joao Mario did against Cagliari.

“We must always play in an attacking way, but from the start, not after 20 minutes. In my view, discipline and approach are very important. I want to play in this way. I made a couple of changes against Southampton, but it was right for the situation.

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“This season we have adapted to the opposition twice already, the first being against Chievo. We want to win, the Saints are a strong side and physically imposing. They were in better shape than us, so it was only right we adapt to them.

“In general we mustn’t play with the handbrake on, as when we have the ball at our feet we need to focus only on our style of football. We made many crosses against Southampton, more than 20. That’s extremely positive, but we created only one actual scoring opportunity.”

Allegri wary of AC Milan after Inter defeat

The Italian champions have lost once this season, with that defeat coming to Frank de Boer’s side at San Siro, as they prepare to take to the Rossoneri on Saturday

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri says the team’s defeat to Inter has given him cause for concern ahead of Sunday’s Serie A clash with AC Milan.

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Seven wins from their opening eight games of the league campaign has given the champions an early five-point lead at the top of the table, with their sole defeat coming in a 2-1 loss to Frank de Boer’s side at San Siro last month.

While Inter have struggled to replicate that display since, city rivals Milan have enjoyed a five-match unbeaten run to take them level on points with second-placed Roma ahead of their meeting with Juve.

And Allegri, who guided Milan to their last Serie A title in 2011, admits to being wary of Vincenzo Montella’s in-form side.

“I have to congratulate Milan, because they’re having a great championship,” he said. “They have some good young players who will be the future of the Italy team.

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“Milan-Juventus matches are always very close. Against Inter, we went out as favourites and we got a good whack.

“We must be careful: Suso and [M’Baye] Niang have technique, [Carlos] Bacca attacks the area, [Giacomo] Bonaventura is a creator.

“We have a lot of respect for Milan. They’re a young team, they’re strong. They deserve second place, but the season is long.”

Allegri hopes to have Mario Mandzukic available after he missed the Champions League win over Lyon this week with an adductor injury, though Giorgio Chiellini (calf) and Marko Pjaca (leg fracture) are out.

Claudio Marchisio will again be part of the squad, however, after the Italy international completed an hour of a midweek friendly as he continues his recovery from knee surgery.

“The only one we can bring back is Mandzukic. Chiellini won’t be there, with a view to him being available for Wednesday. Neither will Pjaca,” Allegri said.

“Marchisio will be called up – he managed 60 minutes in a friendly game on Wednesday. [Daniele] Rugani worked with the group and we’ll see how much pain he has in his knee.”

Allegri is likely to leave Juan Cuadrado on the bench once more, despite him scoring the winner against Lyon.

“The numbers tell you – he’s been crucial. He deserves to start but I need players like him to make an impact off the bench,” he added.

Under-fire De Boer still sure of reaching knockout stages

Antonio Candreva’s superb strike earned Inter a fortunate win over Southampton that eased the pressure on the Dutch coach

Frank de Boer insisted Inter can still progress to the knockout stage of the Europa League following their 1-0 victory over Southampton at San Siro.

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The win was Inter’s first in Group K at the third attempt and the Serie A side more than rode their luck, as Southampton dominated for long periods, created a string of chances and were unfortunate not to earn at least a point.

Antonio Candreva rifled home what proved to be the only goal midway through the second half, but Inter were forced to play out the final 13 minutes with 10 men following the dismissal of Marcelo Brozovic and were grateful to goalkeeper Samir Handanovic for making several saves.

The result snapped a three-game losing streak for Inter to ease the pressure on De Boer, who is eyeing a top-two finish in the group, though his side sit bottom, one behind second-placed Southampton.

“I must compliment the team,” he said. “We played with a lot of discipline.

“In the first half it was a bad game, but in the second half we did better and the goal from Candreva was fantastic. After the Brozovic red card we suffered, but I really want to give my compliments to the guys because we have held out to the end. 

“In the last 10 minutes we struggled, but we have a fantastic goalkeeper.

“We have to continue like this and win every game if we are to make the top two in the group. If we keep winning, we will have the chance to go through.”

With Inter currently languishing in 11th place in Serie A having won only three of their eight games, there had been speculation in the Italian media that a defeat against Southampton would see De Boer sacked after less than three months in charge.

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But the Dutchman played down suggestions that the players may have lifted their performance in a bid to keep him in the job.

“Did the boys play for me?” he said. “It is important that they played for Inter.

“I have faith in my team, in my players. In other matches they lacked concentration, but we played with discipline throughout the game. It is crucial for a team to always work together in order to achieve a victory like we did.”  

Inter return to league action on Sunday with a trip to Atalanta.