Antonio Conte made it clear his Inter players still needed to fully embrace his tactics but admired their “refusal to accept defeat” against Valencia.
“It was a difficult test against a very good team who has been working with the same Coach for a long time, winning the Copa del Rey against Barcelona last year, for example,” Conte told Inter TV.
“The lads put in a positive performance, because yet again they proved that they don’t give up, they don’t want to accept defeat. It’s a very positive aspect in terms of mentality.
“I told them that they can do better, but we are working to improve in pre-season. They’re a little tired, as we are doing tactical and also physical work in training, to put some fuel in the tank for later in the campaign. This evening was another step in the growth process.”
Lukaku only just arrived from Manchester United, so was left behind, but Lautaro Martinez got his first start after the Copa America exploits with Argentina.
“It was the first time this summer that Lautaro and Politano played together. Lautaro has only been training with us for a few days, but he worked hard. Matteo had been out injured.
“All the players still need to get into the mechanisms I am asking for when attacking. I am pleased with Sebastiano Esposito, as he came on with the right attitude and won the penalty.
“Obviously, Lukaku also needs to do a lot of work in training, both physically and on tactics. He is an excellent purchase and we are very happy. He wants to work really hard to be ready as soon as possible.”