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Serie A title race is wide open

Serie A
Read
 By Ben Gladwell

Inter Milan want coach with characteristics of Chelsea boss Conte

Inter Milan sporting director Piero Ausilio says the club will look to appoint a coach with the "characteristics" of someone like Chelsea boss Antonio Conte.

Conte, along with Tottenham Hotspur head coach Mauricio Pochettino and Atletico Madrid's Diego Simeone, has been linked with the Nerazzurri in recent months. Pochettino has already said he has no intention of leaving Spurs.

Roberto Mancini, Frank de Boer and Stefano Pioli have all left the managerial position at the San Siro since last August, with Stefano Vecchi having stepped up from the youth team until the end of the season.

Inter will look to appoint a permanent replacement in the summer, but Ausilio admits it will not be easy to find a coach who is both available and and is suitable for the job. 

"We have to contend with contracts and market factors," Ausilio told students at a talk at the University of Milan, reports fcinter1908.it. "We are looking at coaches with those characteristics [of Conte] but then you see that they are all under contract at Chelsea, at Tottenham, at Atletico and at Juve. We also need to face up to situations like these."

The choice of head coach for next season is an important one with Ausilio admitting he got it wrong last summer. That is a mistake he cannot afford to repeat with the club's ambitious owners keen to see Inter back in the Champions League in 2018-19.

"Football is like any business in that if you don't plan well, you can have a negative season," he said. "This year, Inter did not plan well. We changed coach four times and we're going to finish seventh or eighth.

Frank De Boer took over at the start of the season but was sacked after 85 days.

"Yet in spite of that, we have a good squad of players at Inter. Those people who are saying that Inter are poor now are the same people who were saying that Inter were Juve's main rivals. Even [Juventus coach Massimiliano] Allegri, [Napoli boss Maurizio] Sarri and [Roma's Luciano] Spalletti were saying it, but if you don't plan in a certain way, everything becomes relative."

Parting company with Mancini just a week before the start of the season and bringing in De Boer was part of that poor planning.

"We had a lot of enthusiasm with the new owners and we had a coach who had done all the groundwork and then, just a week before the start of the season, for thousands of different reasons, the decision is taken to get rid of him, or he goes anyway, and then we went for a coach who did not know Italian football," he said.

"Even somebody without any imagination could realise that that was not the way to start a season, because you're already starting off on the wrong foot, behind everybody else. You've got to start your preparations from scratch, starting with getting to know the players, and you also need to re-establish a team, considering that the coach before preferred a different style or had faith in different players."

It did not work with De Boer and, despite an improvement under Stefano Pioli, things did not ultimately work out with him either. The Nerazzurri are unlikely to catch sixth-placed AC Milan and qualify for the Europa League next season with just two games of the season remaining and four points to make up.

They have lost four in a row, and six in a winless run of eight matches, dating back to March 12. Caretaker coach Vecchi leads them to Lazio this weekend with a home game against Udinese concluding the season on May 28.

Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.

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