Antonio Conte wants Inter to stay on their toes against “positive” Lecce, but Ashley Young is not ready and he sees the transfer market as “a virus.”
It kicks off on Sunday at 14.00 GMT, click here for a match preview.
“Lecce are having their journey, play positive football and believe in achieving results by being proactive. They are currently outside the relegation zone and I hope they can stay up, as of course this is my hometown club and means a lot to me,” Conte said in his press conference.
“My family still lives in Lecce and the only day I’ll be a rival to this club is tomorrow. This is a special game. It’s also a difficult one, as we must maintain our concentration at the highest level.”
Inter’s month has been dominated by the transfer window, as Ashley Young completed his move from Manchester United, whereas the swap with Roma’s Leonardo Spinazzola and Matteo Politano was abandoned, apparently due to extra medical tests.
“I made a technical decision for the Spinazzola-Politano transfer. That’s all I can say. After that, other things happened that are not under my purview, so you’d have to ask someone else. I was asked for my opinion, I gave it, that can be listened to or not.
“Matteo already had his heart set on Roma and he wanted to stay there.”
This response does not specify whether it really was a fitness issue, and therefore with the medical staff, or if Inter tried to change the terms of the deal for other reasons.
Meanwhile, Inter continue their pursuit of Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen, which sparked an irritable Jose Mourinho reply.
“It’s the usual. Jose and I know each other, it’s not a problem,” shrugged Conte.
“Young has just arrived, so it’s unthinkable to suggest he’d come with us to Lecce. He will start training and we’ll work towards next week against Cagliari.
“Ashley is super experienced and played both on the right and left at Manchester United. He was born a winger, but can play as the fifth in a midfield. He hadn’t played much recently in the Premier League, so will take a little while to get into shape.
“This is the most difficult period of the season for a coach, because there are constantly names in the papers, some stories that are true, others that aren’t. The transfer window is like a potential virus that we must contain.”
Matias Vecino has also been linked with a move away from Inter and Conte only stated the midfielder “will not be available against Lecce.”
Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £9.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://www.premiersports.com/subscribenow