Mateo Kovacic’s exit may have hampered Roberto Mancini’s preparations but the striker is determined to start the Serie A season in style
Roberto Mancini’s new-look Inter get their Serie A campaign under way against Atalanta on Sunday but must do so without Mateo Kovacic.
Croatia international Kovacic completed his move to Real Madrid on Tuesday, with his departure somewhat dampening the mood at San Siro after what had been a positive close-season of re-building.
Inter have not claimed the Scudetto since 2010 but signings such as Miranda, Martin Montoya, Geoffrey Kondogbia and Stevan Jovetic have bolstered hopes that Mancini’s side can challenge Juventus’ dominance this season.
Extended contracts for the likes of Mauro Icardi also added to the feel-good factor and while Kovacic’s exit undoubtedly serves as a blow, former Fiorentina forward Jovetic – who joined from Manchester City – is eagerly anticipating his return to Italy’s top flight.
“We have a lot of very talented young players in the team,” Jovetic said.
“They need to develop further but we just need to have some patience. We’ve trained well ever since I arrived, we’re ready and I can’t wait for Sunday to come around.
“Things are going well with Icardi, I already knew he was a fantastic player. I followed him when I was in England and had a great opinion of him.
“The coach has told me what he’s expecting of me from a tactical point of view. The fans also have high expectations of me but the most important thing is that I contribute with goals and assists.”
Inter did the double over Atalanta last term, claiming a 2-0 win at San Siro before running out 4-1 victors in Bergamo.
Atalanta appointed former Lazio boss Edoardo Reja in March, and he managed to steer them to the safety of 17th place and another campaign in the top flight.
Reja will hope Mauricio Pinilla’s goals can ensure a more prosperous campaign after the Chilean made his move from Genoa permanent while inspirational captain German Denis also remains at the club.
The Argentine striker had been linked with a move away from the club during the close-season but looks set to begin his sixth campaign in blue and black this weekend.