Luciano Spalletti explained why Samir Handanovic was the natural choice to replace Mauro Icardi as captain after Inter beat Rapid Vienna.
Lautaro Martinez earned and converted the decisive penalty in Austria for the Europa League Round of 32, but it was overshadowed by the controversy over Icardi.
The striker was first stripped of the captaincy, handed to Samir Handanovic, then Icardi refused to take part in this match.
“The result and the performance were both important. We could’ve done better, but we were up against a team that is organised and strong on the counter,” the Coach told Sky Sport Italia.
“I found the pitch a bit sticky and it was tiring to play on it, at least that’s what the players told me. It affected our passing game, but we did well anyway.
“We always seem to get into trouble when it looks easy on paper, so we have to be wary for the second leg. Nothing will change for Rapid Vienna, they’ll still try to play on the counter.”
Inevitably, Spalletti was asked what he will say to Icardi when he returns to base tomorrow.
“There’s no problem as far as I am concerned, but we’ll see what happens.”
The Coach also spoke about the Icardi situation in the Press conference.
“I think he will react in a professional manner. Just as we had difficulty in making this decision, he had difficulty receiving the news. We go to work, there is nothing different.
“Handanovic was already the captain in the past, even when Mauro was around. We all know him, how well-balanced and professional he is. Samir is someone who knows how to transmit the right values to his teammates both with words and actions.
“He is appreciated in the locker room, a characteristic that Mauro also had in some ways. In terms of character, Handanovic has more experience and more potential as a captain than Mauro.”