Antonio Conte has set himself the target of achieving “something extraordinary” ahead of his first season in charge of Inter Milan.
After a year on the sidelines, Conte will be back in the dugout upon replacing Luciano Spalletti as Inter manager for next season.
While the Italian may have won three Serie A crowns in a row at Juventus, he will have his work cut out big time to even lead Inter into a title challenge for his debut campaign.
This comes off the back of the Nerazzurri ending up 21 points behind Serie A champions Juventus in a distant fourth last season. They also exited the Champions League group stages, with Lazio knocking them out of the Coppa Italia quarter-finals.
So, the pressure will be on Conte to turn things around and re-establish Inter as a genuine contender for major honours both in Italy and Europe.
In his first press conference as Nerazzurri manager, however, a bullish Conte refused to rule out a title tilt as “nothing is impossible” as he sets about achieving the “extraordinary” at the San Siro.
“I do not set limits, no alibi. In the last few years there was a huge gap with Juventus and Napoli, we have to work a lot. We will give our best to reduce the gap,” said Conte as quoted by Calcio Mercato.
“To return to the top it takes a lot of hard work and commitment. Alone, I cannot win. We need to work as a group and work hard to narrow the gap with the teams ahead of us. It is a beautiful adventure and I am very excited.
“We must be good at building something. Who has time, does not wait. Nobody has a magic wand.
⚽️ | KICK-OFF
— Inter (@Inter_en) July 7, 2019
“Inter have qualified to the Champions League in the last two seasons and we will work well and better than others to fill the gap that exists but there must be no alibi.
“At Juve, I won the title after two seventh places. Even at Chelsea, we were not among the favourites. Nothing is impossible.
“We have to work to do something extraordinary and to do it you need good players but above all extraordinary men. This is what we are looking for.”
The former Chelsea manager was also questioned on the future of Ivan Perisic, who handed in a transfer request in order to force through an apparent move in January to Arsenal.
“I’m looking for commitment,” said Conte. “I don’t see big problems. We will have the time to get to know each other.
“I would like to highlight [Samuel] Eto’o when he was at Inter. He sacrificed himself for the club and he fought for Inter and I want the players to do the same.”
Meanwhile, chief executive Giuseppe Marotta declared on Saturday that neither Mauro Icardi or Radja Nainggolan are part of Inter’s plans for next season.
When asked about the duo, Conte replied: ” The club have had the necessary time to evaluate, decide and act. I have aligned myself with the club, we must do things as one.”
Conte will make his Inter debut in Switzerland for a pre-season friendly against Lugano next Sunday.