Inter head coach Frank de Boer says he accepts the criticism that has come his way following the Europa League defeat to Sparta Prague, but does not want his team to be judged solely on that performance.
De Boer’s men suffered a shock 3-1 defeat in Prague on Thursday, meaning they have lost both of their opening matches in Europa League Group K, with the Dutchman finding himself under pressure – not for the first time since taking charge – in the aftermath.
Inter’s Serie A form has been stronger, though, with 11 points from six games putting them third in the early season table ahead of their trip to take on fourth-placed Roma on Sunday.
De Boer has no issue with negative comments about his Inter players when they are warranted and highlighted changing their mentality as his most important challenge.
“I have no problems with the media,” he said at his news conference ahead of the match in the Italian capital.
“When things do not go well and the press criticise, it is not a problem. It is natural for different things to be written after a win or a loss. When we lose, I already have other things to think about.
“We have our project and philosophy – it takes time. We are on the right track. It didn’t go well in Prague, but in training and other games it did. Since then I have seen the players take some steps forward in training.
“We have spoken amongst ourselves about these slow starts to matches and we cannot have the same attitude we saw in Prague.
“The match must begin before the starting whistle, in fact a good day before. We must concentrate before the game, as when the referee blows his whistle it is already too late to begin. We must change.”
He added: “Against Roma it may well be easy to have the right attitude because it’s a big match. I just want to see a team that is concentrated the same way against all opponents, not just the big ones.
“It’s not a problem for me when they make a mistake. The problem is when their minds are not open to understanding why and fixing it.
“Roma are very strong in all areas of the field and have a lot of quality. If we don’t have the right attitude, it will be very difficult against them.”