x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Gasperini already under pressure at Inter Milan

Following three defeats to open the season, the Italian coach has been given a vote of confidence ahead of Saturday's match against Roma.

MILAN, Italy // Massimo Moratti, the Inter Milan president, has denied that Gian Piero Gasperini's job is in danger after losing his first three games, but tomorrow's home match with Roma will still be a huge test for the new coach.

Gasperini, Inter's third manager since Jose Mourinho left at the end of the 2009/10 treble-winning season, is coaching a major club for the first time and some fans fear he is out of his depth.

Moratti said after Wednesday's shock 1-0 home defeat to Champions League debutants Trabzonspor that there was no threat to Gasperini, a surprise appointment to replace Leonardo in the summer.

"If we start putting it like that then it becomes impossible both for the coach and the players to work," he said on Inter's website.

Such votes of confidence are often taken with a pinch of salt in football and Gazzetta dello Sport has already declared the Roma match as decisive for the former Genoa coach.

"A defeat could prompt Moratti to make a change of direction," the sports newspaper said.

Gasperini started out by losing to AC Milan in the season-opening Italian Super Cup match played in Beijing and saw his team and three-man defence slump to a 4-3 defeat at Palermo in their Serie A debut last Sunday.

He reverted to four at the back on Wednesday under pressure from Moratti but the defeat against the Turkish side has made Inter's chances of making the last 16 that bit harder.

Gasperini is unlikely to cut much ice with his explanation that the team tried hard but were unlucky.

"They put in a lot of effort and I saw important performances, but unfortunately we didn't have much luck on our side," said the former Genoa manager. "However, I saw an angry reaction on Inter's part. I saw a group that reacts and also tonight showed how much desire they have to do well."

Luis Enrique, the new Roma coach, is in a far from comfortable situation himself with an opening 2-1 home defeat to Cagliari on his Serie A debut, following Europa League elimination at the hands of Slovan Bratislava. So far Roma have looked nothing like his former club Barcelona, who Enrique wants his side to imitate.