Internazionale defender Alessandro Bastoni remains bullish about the club’s Serie A title defence despite a tumultuous off-season which spilled over with fan protests in Sunday’s friendly win.
Inter won 2-0 over Parma at Stadio Tardini as some of the approximately 500 fans in attendance brought banners and chanted abuse aimed at owners the Suning corporation, calling for president Steven Zhang to quit, barely months after their breakthrough Scudetto triumph.
Since lifting their first Serie A title since 2010, Inter have seen the departure of title-winning head coach Antonio Conte, who was frustrated as the club tightened its purse strings.
The Serie A champions have also sold Achraf Hakimi to Paris Saint-Germain with Romelu Lukaku set to depart for Chelsea. Lautaro Martinez has also been linked with a move to Tottenham.
The largest fan banner read “Zhang if you want to save Inter, then you have to leave”. Another read “Zhang, the time is over”.
Footage emerged on social media of ultras singing “you have to sell” and “we’ll give you the money” and waving €10 bills.
Fans did offer support to new Inter head coach Simone Inzaghi who has taken over at a difficult time, with expectations lowered for their title defence.
Italy centre-back Bastoni is one of numerous Inter players to recently return to the club following a delayed break due to his Euro 2020 commitments, with others also participating at Copa America.
“We’ve only joined up with the group recently – we’ve got a new manager and we need to grasp his system,” Bastoni told Inter TV.
“We’re ready to put our trust in him so we can perform well this year.”
Former Inter star forward Hernan Crespo told the Italian media on Sunday that the Nerazzurri are “starting from scratch”, criticising their handling of the transition after winning the Serie A.
Crespo said Inter are unlikely to defend their title given their off-season tumult, labelling Juventus the favourites.
Bastoni added: “These friendly run-outs are key because we joined up with the squad only recently, so we’ve not got that much time to prepare for a league campaign in which we want to do well.
“We have a league title to defend and we will try to do that in every possible way.”
Inter will commence their Serie A campaign on Saturday 22 August against Genoa.