Inter Milan’s Croatian midfielder has claimed the Serie A champions are there for the taking when the two team’s meet in this weekend’s Derby d’Italia
Inter midfielder Ivan Perisic believes Juventus do not dominate Serie A like Bayern Munich do the Bundesliga and admits that was one of the reasons he moved to San Siro.
The Croatia international joined Roberto Mancini’s side from Wolfsburg in the close-season and insists he did not do that to settle for second or third place in the table.
Ahead of the big Derby d’Italia at home to Juve – who have won the last four Scudettos – on Sunday, Perisic is hoping Inter can prove the title race is wide open.
“If you had told me we would have 16 points after seven games, I would have taken that,” the 26-year-old told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“I wouldn’t take the final third place though, nor even second.
“I was already second last season with Wolfsburg. I left Germany among other things because I understood that competing with Bayern was impossible.
“There is much more balance here, I see seven or eight teams capable of going all the way.
“We were discussing an extension. For a few months they not only failed to sign the two or three men that would allow them to take a leap forwards in quality, they also lost some indispensable elements.
“When Kevin De Bruyne told me that he was leaving [Wolfsburg to join Manchester City], that cleared every doubt.”
Juventus’ slow start to their title defence has seen them win only two of their first seven games and Perisic would like to see those struggles go on for a little longer to benefit Inter and the other title contenders.
He said: “We are second, we are playing at home and we want to win at all costs. If we were to win we would do a favour to all our rivals too.
“They wouldn’t be knocked out of the Scudetto race if we win. There are still 30 games and they showed in the last few years that they were the best.
“Last summer I thought that three of their most important men were leaving [Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal, Carlos Tevez] but it is true that they did pick up some other strong players.
“Let’s hope it will take them a little bit longer still to find their ideal set-up.”
Inter’s last home game against Fiorentina ended in a dreadful 4-1 defeat, abruptly ending their run of five consecutive victories to kick off the new season.
“The evening felt cursed,” explained Perisic.
“It started from the injury to [Stevan] Jovetic warming up, which then convinced Mancini to change the system.
“Several of us found ourselves out of position. Then we conceded goals and the red card for Miranda was the final blow.”
Perisic also reflected on an international break that concluded with Croatia reaching Euro 2016 after they beat Malta and Italy defeated Norway to ensure their automatic progression.
He continued: “It was such a great joy. I knew Italy were going to beat Norway.
“As soon as I got to the Pinetina [Inter’s training ground], I thanked [Andrea] Ranocchia and [Davide] Santon.
“Now I can put my heart and soul into Inter until May.”