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Nainggolan could be set for lengthy absence according to Spalletti – football news

Radja Nainggolan will be out for “a while” after the midfielder was injured in Inter’s derby victory against AC Milan, said Luciano Spalletti.

Nainggolan limped off after half an hour of Sunday’s Serie A clash at the San Siro, where Inter won 1-0 thanks to a late Mauro Icardi header.

The former Roma star appeared to sustain the injury in a heavy tackle from Lucas Biglia that saw the Milan midfielder booked, although Nainggolan also caught the Argentina international in the incident.

Nainggolan initially played on but after he was on the end of another firm challenge he was replaced by Borja Valero.

And Spalletti suggested Nainggolan could face a lengthy lay-off, with Inter next in action against Barcelona in the Champions League on Wednesday.

“Nainggolan has been chopped down,” Spalletti said to Sky Sport Italia.

“We have to take him to the hospital and see. He won’t be with us for a while.”

Both teams had a goal ruled out for offside while Stefan de Vrij hit the post in the first half, but Spalletti was in no doubt the result was fair.

“It’s obvious Inter deserved it, we played from start to finish in their half, pressed high and went for it,” the coach added.

“Therefore, we deserve compliments. Not because we wanted it more, but because we played better. If you say to me, ‘The team that wanted it more got the win’, that is not accurate. The team that played better football won the game.

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“I came here to win, not to just sit on a bench for a season and bring home a salary. I came here to organise the future of Inter and the players must do the same.

“I liked that after the final whistle, Icardi said we must find consistency and keep pushing. Inter chose us to bring this side back to the level that the fans deserve. It is our job, we must do it with a sense of belonging and prove they were right to choose us.

“It’s dangerous when you press high, as there is always the risk of conceding a counter, but we were perfect and forced Milan to continually lose the ball. We ensured Milan were incapable of playing their quality passing game that Gennaro Gattuso had spoken about.”

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Spalletti plans to read Totti’s book before responding to ‘coward’ claim – football news

Luciano Spalletti plans to read Francesco Totti’s autobiography before responding to a section that describes an angry confrontation between the two during their time at Roma.

Totti’s relationship with Spalletti became strained towards the end of his penultimate season as a player following a disagreement in the wake of a draw against Atalanta in April 2016.

In his newly published book, the Roma icon recounts a bust-up in the aftermath during which he claims to have called Spalletti a coward for trying to push him out of the club and was consequently banished from the training ground.

When asked for his thoughts on the passage, Spalletti told reporters: “I expected this question. I understand your curiosity to know if it is true or not what he wrote.

“However, it does not make sense to talk about it in a news conference. The fans want to know how the team is and what our future will be.

“I have to talk about topics that interest them. I will read the book calmly, there are so many pages and it takes time.

“We play every three days and I do not have much time available.”

Looking ahead to his side’s Serie A clash with Cagliari on Saturday, Spalletti said a run of three straight wins in all competitions had helped Inter to develop.

Following a dramatic 2-1 victory over Tottenham in the Champions League, the Nerazzurri secured back-to-back league wins against Sampdoria and Fiorentina.

Spalletti said: “We are growing, we are in a phase where if we are good now we can establish our maximum performance and our qualities, which I believe are very high.

“It is clear that everything comes from what happens on the pitch, results and enthusiasm.

“All these games burn a lot mentally and having the next match three days later is not easy. All teams can cause problems, even if they do not have as much to offer on paper.”

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The Inter coach also indicated there is more to come from midfielder Radja Nainggolan, who has struggled for match fitness since his transfer from Roma due to injuries.

“Nainggolan is at a six out of 10, just enough for his potential,” said Spalletti.

“He must achieve a level of fitness that so far he has not. He is doing little compared to what he can do.”

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Spalletti demands ‘a lot better’ from Nainggolan – football news

Inter coach Luciano Spalletti conceded that he is expecting more from Radja Nainggolan following his move from Roma.

Nainggolan joined Inter in June and was reunited with Spalletti, who previously coached him at Roma.

Inter are reported to have paid €23.5 million (£21m/$48m) plus Davide Santon and Nicolo Zaniolo for the 30-year-old, but he has featured in just one of their three Serie A outings so far.

He also scored in that appearance against Bologna, but Spalletti wants more from the Belgian away from the offensive side of the game

“Nainggolan is a strong player, as are all of his team-mates, otherwise they would not play here,” Spalletti told reporters ahead of Saturday’s clash with Parma.

“He’s more striking than just being about scoring goals. He’s that kind of player who gives those flashes like in Bologna.

“But then there are other statistics, the consistency he has in the game, and on these numbers he can do a lot better.

“At the end of the game, we look at the performance data. He can give us something more, can improve, but then he is one that can make the difference.”

Inter will be out to claim a second successive win when Parma visit, but they will once again be without talented striker Lautaro Martinez, who Spalletti suspects will also miss the Champions League opener at home to Tottenham on Tuesday.

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The Argentina forward joined for a reported €23 million from Racing Club in pre-season, but injuries have disrupted his start to life in Serie A, with a haematoma in his calf – which prevented him playing for his country during the international break – causing him discomfort.

“His situation is improving,” Spalletti said. “He is healing, but we still have to evaluate him.

“For Tottenham we will have to see. Personally, I think it’s unlikely because they are problems that, if not healed completely, can lead to a long lay-off, but we are still calm.”

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