clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Frank de Boer holds first press conference as Inter Head Coach

The Dutchman presented himself in amicable fashion to the journalists present at Appiano Gentile. A new era has begun.

No sooner had one Head Coach left than another one arrived. Roberto Mancini is only in the past as of 24 hours but already Inter have catapulted themselves into the future, announcing Frank de Boer as Mancio's replacement on Tuesday morning and then presenting him to the Italian media in the afternoon. The 46 year-old arrives at Inter with four Eredivisie titles and one Dutch Super Cup to his name as a coach, having spent six successful years in charge of Ajax after guiding the Netherlands to the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final, when he spent three years as Bert van Marwijk's assistant. Having said very little at Malpensa airport last night - the journalists present managed to extract a "very happy to be here" and nothing else - today was the time to start talking, and he did it pretty well if you ask me.

Chief Executive Michael Bolingbroke, the man who is thought to have pushed the most for Mancini's departure along with President Erick Thohir, began the press conference with some kind words of welcome: "It's a real honour and gives me great pleasure to present Frank as Inter's new Head Coach today. He has fantastic experience as a player, winning almost every trophy available to him as well as making over 100 appearances for the Dutch national team, while as manager at Ajax he gave them four consecutive league titles. We have very high expectations of him as he has great energy and enthusiasm; this has really struck me, the executive team, Thohir and Suning. We're very happy to see this level of enthusiasm and the offensive style of football he'll wish to play, both at San Siro and away from home. Our objective is to bring Inter back to the top of European football, we want to obtain the maximum from every competition we're taking part in and win as much as possible. Inter must return to the Champions League, we've been out of it for too long and we must return there permanently; for us that's a very important target. We have an excellent squad of players; there are only two weeks to go until the start of the season so Frank has a lot to do."

After that, it was time for Frank to take the mic himself. "I'd like to thank Inter for having appointed me as Head Coach, as this is a club with great tradition. I've spoken with everyone at the club and we all speak the same language: we want to win. I can't wait to start working hard towards the objectives we've set ourselves. It's not an ideal scenario to come in just a fortnight before the season starts, but we have some great players here who thanks to our ideas will be able to learn quickly."

When was the first time Inter contacted him? "We had first spoken two weeks ago to see if I was interested, along with my agent, and I was honoured that they'd shown an interest in me. Talks continued and soon we'd reached an agreement for me to become the new Head Coach. I think Serie A has improved a lot in recent years, teams here play a much more modern style of football now than they did not long ago. Every team is prepared to use two or three different systems of play so it's a very interesting league that remains one of the most important."

First impressions of the squad? "I've coached a lot of young players in the past but I'm confident I can also manage players with more experience - in a way it will be easier, as they will be able to pick my ideas up more quickly. We've looked closely at the squad and at the moment I'd like everyone to remain. I've seen them all on video but sometimes players can surprise you in real life, so I need to get to know them. As well as its first-team success though Inter is also famous for the wonderful youth academy it has here, so part of my job here will be to give players from there a chance to come into the first team. That's one of my objectives. The formation? That's not so important. I play 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1 normally but if it would hurt an opponent we could also play 5-3-2 for instance. But the formation isn't so important: what's important is that everyone believes in what we're doing."

Then a question about Mauro Icardi: "He's young, can still learn a lot but has already demonstrated to be a fantastic player. He's very important for this team and he will stay at Inter; I'm sure there will be no problem fitting him into my style of play."

Are Juventus out of reach? "No team is unbeatable, sometimes things can change. Juventus have a brilliant team with great individuals and it will be hard to beat them, but it's not impossible. Our target is to be closer to them than last season and fight to make life hard for them.

Is he worried about encountering a demanding crowd at San Siro? "Have you been to the Amsterdam Arena? It's a similar thing there, I'm used to that. The pressure was very high at Barcelona as well. I'm aware that the fans are expectant but I think with our philosophy we can play good football and entertain them. Results and good football put together are a great mix for the fans."

Might he want to sign some of his former players from Ajax? "There are a lot of great talents at Ajax and I'm sure many will go on to play in the Premier League and Serie A - perhaps even here at Inter, who knows. I know them very well of course, but the most important thing for young players is to play. It's better to play 30 games there than 10 games here, for instance."

Is it true he already wanted to sign Gabigol while he was at Ajax? "Clubs like Ajax and Inter are always looking for creative players like him. A lot of clubs are after him though so we'll have to wait and see if we can bring him here. He's a very interesting player though, that much is for sure..."

Is Chinese investment a good thing for Italian football? "It's a great advantage for Serie A, just look at what's happened to the Premier League with overseas investment there." Finally, a word on Roberto Mancini: "I wish Roberto all the best for his career in the future, he is a brilliant manager and has done extraordinary things for Inter over the years. Everyone here has the utmost respect for him and we wish him the best of luck for the future, because he deserves it. He's a wonderful person."

A question was also put to Bolingbroke on the manner of Mancini's departure at the end of the press conference: "When we appointed Roberto 22 months ago we did it because he was the right man in that particular moment. In the time that's passed since then he's taken us back into Europe and we thank him profusely for all the work he has done, for all the effort he's put in, but we had arrived at the point where we felt it was right to make a change and we reached an agreement with him to say goodbye in a harmonious manner. We wish him all the best for the future, football is like this sometimes but the most important thing is Inter and the club needs the right structure. But we wish him all the best, we parted ways in an amicable fashion."

And with that, a new era began at Inter. The time for talking has finally stopped; it's time to start thinking about matters on the pitch again, with Frank de Boer's first game as Inter coach coming on Wednesday evening against Borussia Monchengladbach. I have many doubts about his chances of success here, but he has my full backing and support regardless. Benvenuto Mister!