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Spalletti confused by Joao Mario transfer rumours

Claims that Inter 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 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.

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.

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"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.

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"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 need to strengthen their squad in January if they are 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."