Monday January 16 2017
Pioli: ‘Inter just getting started’

Stefano Pioli hails “very ambitious” Inter, but warns “we’re only at the beginning of our journey”.

The former Lazio boss became the Nerazzurri’s third Coach of the season, replacing Frank de Boer after the Dutchman’s disastrous succession of Roberto Mancini.

Saturday’s 3-1 win over Chievo means the Beneamata have won their last six games in a row in all competitions, but Pioli warns there’s a lot of work to be done.

“We’ve worked hard and well, but we’re only at the beginning of our journey,” Pioli cautioned in an interview with Rai.

“We have to chase down the teams in front of us, and think about winning as many matches as possible between now and the end of the season.

“Champions League qualification isn’t just down to us, but also those in front of us. It will be difficult because of the quality of the teams in front of us, but our own quality means we have to try and win a lot.

“Beyond individuals, we’re finding the right balance. Everyone attacks, everyone defends, and those attitudes can help us become a competitive team.”

Pioli was one of many candidates interviewed by owners Suning Group, and he discussed the process.

“I was very clear about the ideas I had about the team and its potential. I was myself, and thankfully they chose me.

“Our knowledge and communication are improving, the owners are close to us with Steven and Liu [Zhang] being at Appiano Gentile.

“It’s a good structure and they’re very ambitious. I think it’s right to plan for a big future, but right now we have to think about the present. Inter have to win and we’re trying to do that.”

The appointment was a dream come true, as the tactician grew up an Inter fan.

“I watched and supported Inter, this has always been my ambition and it’s a dream come true,” Pioli said.

“I played for Juventus? When I was playing for Parma in Serie C, the sporting director Sogliano told me that I was going to sign for Inter.

“I celebrated that night, but while we were on the motorway the director said that Juve had offered more so I changed.”