Martinez: Inter must challenge Juventus next season

Lautaro Martinez believes Inter can mount a challenge to Juventus next season but says Luciano Spalletti's side must focus on securing Champions League qualification.

Inter sit third in Serie A heading into Saturday's Derby d'Italia, five points above AC Milan and Atalanta, who are fourth and fifth respectively.

Twenty-six points separate Juventus, crowned champions for an eighth successive season when they beat Fiorentina 2-1 last time out, and Inter in the table.

But Martinez - who has instilled himself as a regular starter under Spalletti and scored six league goals this term - believes the Nerazzurri are capable of closing the gap next season.

"Seeing the points, we would say that the difference is great," Martinez told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"We are aware of this, but in the next season we have to change this. We are a great club, it is essential to do so.

"My big dream is to win a championship with Inter. But to do that, it's not enough to talk about it. Everyone needs to be convinced psychologically: the fans, the manager and players.

"We cannot fail to qualify in the Champions League this season, it is the last goal we have left."

Martinez started just two league fixtures prior to November, but since then has started nine times in Serie A, making 30 appearances in total across all competitions.

And the 21-year-old is thrilled with how his maiden season at Inter has worked out.

"This year I've put together so many minutes, I'm happy," he added.

"In pre-season I played and scored a lot, then I had to go to the bench. I came from Racing where I always played, here I had an icon like [Mauro] Icardi, captain and top scorer in front of me.

"I knew it would be difficult to play, he would never come out: either one or the other, never together. But talking to my family, I never lacked confidence. I grew up, I know my responsibilities."

Read Full Story