Dejan Stankovic sees Geoffrey Kondogbia as his Inter heir and urges Zlatan Ibrahimovic not to join Milan.
The Nerazzurri spent big on the transfer market with the likes of Joao Miranda, Kondogbia, Stevan Jovetic and Martin Montoya.
“We have a very important test against Athletic Bilbao,” Roberto Mancini’s assistant manager Stankovic told Sky Sport Italia.
“We’ve seen some good things in pre-season, but it’s normal that during fitness preparation there are peaks and troughs. We are not worried.
“This team has quality and I see it in the lads every day. It’s true we haven’t scored for a while, but it’s just an unlucky moment. The goals will arrive when they are needed.
“There are many new players and you’ll see that some leaders will emerge to guide the group. I put all my experience in to find someone who can lead the team.
“Can Kondogbia be the new Stankovic for Inter? To be honest, he needs to work more, but I really do believe that. I spoke to him and I say he’s ready. I am sure he’ll have a great campaign.
“Of the newcomers, Miranda is the one who settled in the quickest, also in terms of the movement in defence that Mancio wants.
“We need many things to make a team strong and I hope we can repeat what happened in our Inter a few years ago.”
However, Stankovic is hesitant when asked about their challenge for the Scudetto.
“I cannot say much, as I am a realist. It’s a long campaign, it will be enjoyable and I hope above all that our fans have fun.”
There’s a curious Derby della Madonnina with Milan this term, as ex-Inter assistant manager Sinisa Mihajlovic is on the Rossoneri bench.
“It’ll be great to face Milan after just three rounds, as it’ll fire us up for the rest of the year. The derby with Sinisa will last just 90 minutes, then we’re friends again.”
The derby rivalry does extend to the transfer market, though, as Ibrahimovic is wanted by Milan.
“It would hurt me to see that,” said Stankovic. “It’s better that he stays at PSG where he can win many trophies.”
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