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Spalletti: Juventus a test of Inter’s progress

Coach says Saturday will be a proving ground for Nerazzurri.

FC Internazionale v AC Chievo Verona - Serie A
FC Internazionale Milano coach Luciano Spalletti looks on prior to the Serie A match between FC Internazionale and AC Chievo Verona at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on December 3, 2017 in Milan, Italy.
Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

If nothing else, Luciano Spalletti doesn’t mince words about.

During his pre-match news conference Friday morning, Inter Milan’s boss said plainly that Saturday’s Derby d’Italia battle with Juventus in Turin would be a proving ground for his squad.

Inter are currently in first place in Serie A – a point clear of Napoli and two ahead of the Old Lady – a spot they have not occupied since January 2016. The Nerazzurri have 18 more points today than they did this time a year ago following a 5-0 thrashing of Chievo last weekend.

"We know the obstacle that lies ahead of us," Spalletti said Friday. "Over the past few months we've worked on our identity, conviction and strength that we want to show out on the pitch.”

He added that Saturday’s match will be a barometer of whether the Nerazzurri can compete with top flight teams like Juventus.

"This match is defined as the derby of Italy. It is a test that motivates you; however, we must remain calm.,” Spalletti said. “These lads have demonstrated they can transfer everything linked to Inter out onto the field.”

We have a precise identity which we work on. We have some objectives and we'll need to secure plenty of points to achieve them. Consequently, it's crucial for us to be aware of who we are."