Frank de Boer admitted he has his work cut out if he is to turn Inter Milan into Italian title contenders after a shock defeat to Chievo on Sunday.
Speaking after his first Serie A match in charge of the Chinese-owned club, the former Dutch international said he had not had enough time to put his stamp on the team after only two weeks in charge.
“It can’t be denied that today was a difficult day but we are at the beginning and we can do better in terms of our play and physical level.” said De Boer, who left Ajax at the end of last season.
“We have to get better in many levels but I have only had a friendly to prepare, I’ve not had much time,” he added.
Two second-half strikes by Slovenian winger Valter Birsa sealed Chievo’s 2-0 win and may have given Inter’s new owners pause for thought about the wisdom of ousting De Boer’s predecessor, Roberto Mancini, who took all his back room staff with him when he left “by mutual consent” earlier this month.
The Inter defeat was icing on the cake for champions Juventus, who beat Fiorentina 2-1 on Saturday and were then able to watch some of their other potential title rivals struggle 24 hours later.
Napoli, second to Juve last season, had to come from two goals down to earn a point at Serie A newcomers Pescara while AC Milan needed a last-minute penalty save to hang on for a 3-2 win over Torino.
Roma top the first table of the season thanks to their 4-0 win over Udinese, which made them the only club to indicate they might prevent Juventus claiming a record sixth consecutive Italian title.
Still reeling from the loss of 36-goal striker Gonzalo Higuain to Juventus, Napoli looked out of sorts as Ahmad Benali and Gianluca Caprari gave newly promoted Pescara a two-goal lead at the interval.
Belgian winger Dries Mertens rescued a point for the visitors with two well-taken goals in the space of three minutes around the hour mark.
Colombian striker Carlos Bacca struck a hat-trick as AC Milan began a new era under Chinese ownership with a nervy win over Torino.
It took an injury-time penalty save by 17-year-old goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma to secure the three points for Vincenzo Montella’s side after Torino mounted a stoppage-time fightback.
Bacca, a target for West Ham United who Milan are reportedly willing to sell to fund a higher-profile acquisition, made his case for staying at the San Siro in emphatic fashion.
Strikes either side of half-time were followed by a penalty third as the 29-year-old striker took his tally to 21 league goals in 39 appearances for the Milan giants.
Bacca’s first was the pick of his strikes. Ignazio Abate broke clear in the inside-right channel and the Italy defender’s first-time cross was buried spectacularly by Bacca’s diving header.
Torino were level within three minutes of the restart, Andrea Belotti heading home leftback Cristian Molinari’s cross.
But the advantage proved short-lived. M’Baye Niang’s cross from the left found Bacca in so much space between the two Torino centre-backs that he had time to bring the ball down before slotting past Daniele Padelli.
Bacca appeared to have ended the contest from the penalty spot two minutes after the hour mark after Giacomo Bonaventura was judged to have been brought down by Torino’s Nigerian midfielder Joel Obi.
But Torino were given hope in the first minute of added-on time by Daniele Baselli’s dribble and neat finish.
And they should have claimed a point in the final seconds only to be denied by the teen ‘keeper Donnarumma throwing himself full length to his left to keep out Belotti’s well-struck spot-kick, after Milan defender Gabriel Paletta had been sent off.
Higuain had marked his off-the-bench debut for Juventus on Saturday with the decisive goal in the champions’ defeat of Fiorentina.
Roma, Juve’s biggest rivals in recent seasons, also started strongly thanks to a penalty double from Argentinian midfielder Diego Perotti and strikes from Edin Dzeko and Mohamed Salah.
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