Spalletti confused by Joao Mario transfer rumours

Joao Mario is reportedly angling for a move away from Inter due to a lack of first-team football, but it is news to coach Luciano Spalletti.

Inter midfielder Joao Mario has made 11 appearances in Serie A so far this season, but only four of them have been from the start.   -  Getty Images

Claims that Inter Milan midfielder Joao Mario wants to leave the club due to a lack of opportunities is news to Luciano Spalletti, who says he would rather hear that the player wants "to win more".

The Portugal international has made 11 appearances in Serie A so far this season, but only four of them have been from the start.

Inter director of football Walter Sabatini claimed on Thursday the 24-year-old Joao Mario is unhappy with his playing time, amid rumours of a potential January exit to maximise his chances of playing for Portugal at the World Cup. But Spalletti insists the player has not said anything to him about any unhappiness.

READ: Real hasn't made contact for Icardi, says Inter sporting director

Speaking to reporters ahead of Saturday's clash with Sassuolo, Spalletti said: "No-one has asked me to leave. Joao Mario has not said anything [about leaving] to me ever. But if I can, I'll answer him.

"He's a good player for us and he gives us options when going for a win. I would rather be told that he would like to win more.

"Appearances aren't ranked. Why would a player want to leave if they're at a top club? I hear little about these kinds of problems at Juventus.

"We need to be organised when considering issues like this. For example, [Milan] Skriniar faces every problem as if his life depends on it.

"Every ball matters, not just those which provide a personal advantage. We're Inter and we have ambition."

The Nerazzurri head into Saturday's trip having lost their last Serie A outing 3-1 at home to Udinese, something of a shock given their impressive form so far this season.

It has been suggested Inter needs to strengthen its squad in January if it is to maintain a title challenge, and Spalletti has confidence in the club's recruitment process. 

"If we have a chance in the transfer market, [sporting director Piero] Ausilio and Sabatini will take it like [Mauro] Icardi and [Ivan] Perisic do [on the pitch].

"We will not have a big budget, but we will have to make sure we do our best."