“At the start, our play was awkward, we got lost when things were frantic and you can’t do that against sides like Lazio. Then, when the match came to life, it was balanced but we lacked the composure to move the ball around. There were lots of chances to score, at both ends. It was totally balanced and in the end, Lazio deserved to make the semi-final in the shootout.
“Nainggolan? He had a series of injuries which stopped him from training with any consistency. He needs playing time. Perišić? Roles need to be redefined, the transfer window has closed and he’s a professional. He’ll come back to training and he’ll be reintegrated slowly.
“It always hurts when you lose games at the end like that. At this level, the mental side counts more than anything. The emotional side can take over even if you work well in the week.” Those were the words of Inter coach Luciano Spalletti, who spoke to the media in the immediate aftermath of his side’s elimination from the Coppa Italia at the hands of Lazio.
Despite the fact the match was ultimately decided by a penalty shootout, there is no doubt that the Biancocelesti fully deserved to qualify. They made life difficult for the hosts throughout and had several good goalscoring opportunities of their own. Inter, in truth, offered very little considering they were the home side and looked bereft of ideas at different stages of the encounter.
Of course, failure to join city rivals AC Milan in the final four of the competition has increased the pressure on the aforementioned Spalletti even further. Besides a chaotic 6-2 victory over Serie B outfit Benevento in the previous round of the cup, the Nerazzurri are yet to win a competitive match in 2019. That is damning in itself and is indicative of the team’s tendency to struggle for form at this time of year.
The fans who were at San Siro last night made their feelings clear after Radja Nainggolan missed the decisive spot-kick, greeting Spalletti and his players with a chorus of jeers. As CEO sport Beppe Marotta pointed out before kick-off, Inter are still the third best team in Serie A according to the league table. However, their sheer lack of potency in front of goal is causing a lot of frustration among the supporters who, quite frankly, deserve much better.
Defensively, there is not a lot wrong with Spalletti’s team; Benevento and Roma are the only two sides who have scored more than one goal against Inter since mid-November – that is not a bad record by any stretch of the imagination. The attacking third is where the problem lies. With the talent at this disposal, there are no excuses for this. Therefore, the Tuscan must decipher a way in which to get the best out of his charges quickly or else his time in Milan is likely to draw to a conclusion before long.
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