Friday May 31 2019
Conte won't confirm Icardi

Antonio Conte has refused to confirm that Mauro Icardi will have a future with Inter, while stating ‘we have a plan’ amidst Romelu Lukaku speculation.

Conte was appointed Inter’s new Coach on Friday, and he emphasised the Nerazzurri had ‘the same ambitions as me’.

“We’re talking about a top club with a great history, who at this moment have the same ambitions as me, to win, to try to build something important for this club, and for this reason I decided to come to Inter,” he told BBC World Service.

“I think this is a new challenge for me, a new chapter in my life and for sure in my past I was Juventus Coach and won titles with them.

“I want to do the same now, the history of this club is important and we must have great respect for this and bring the team to the same level as in the past.”

The 49-year-old is believed to be keen on replacing Icardi with Lukaku, whose future seems increasingly distant from Manchester United...

“I think now it’s very difficult to talk about this,” he replied.

“For sure we have a plan and we’ll try to improve the team, but it’s also very important to have a great will and great ambition.

“It’s not true [Inter met Lukaku] but I repeat at this moment, there’s a sporting director to talk about this and answer questions about the transfer market.

“Now we’re very focused to take the first step and start working together. Every situation we’ll see, and we’ll make the best decision with the club.

“We have to work very hard together to make the best decision for the club because the club is the most important thing, in the present and in the future.”

So has he got around to meeting the Argentine yet?

“No, no, absolutely not. I’ve only just started to breathe the Inter atmosphere. I now have to go with my hands and feet into this new challenge.”

The 49-year-old was then asked about his time at Chelsea, where he won a Premier League and FA Cup, as well as the best player he coached at Stamford Bridge.

“I’m delighted about my time at Chelsea. When I arrived, they were out of the Champions League and finished 10th in the table.

“I opened a new chapter for Chelsea, with many young players. At the same time I won the Premier League and reached the FA Cup Final in my first season, and then in the second we won the FA Cup.

“To win in England now is very difficult, but I won and that’s the most important thing.

“We had many good players, but for sure if I have to pick one player then I have to say Kante.

“We’re talking about a special player because he always has a smile on his face, he’s a fantastic player and I wish him all the best.”

Finally, he passed judgment on Saturday’s Champions League Final between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur.

“I see a very balanced game, two strong teams in Liverpool and Tottenham. My expectation is an exciting game, with two good teams who play with high intensity.”