Make no mistake, there was huge pressure on Inter to claim all three points at the Stadio Ennio Tardini tonight. It was very much a case of needing to win at all costs. Luciano Spalletti has been under heavy scrutiny over the course of the past month and there is a sense that his job would have been under serious threat had the Nerazzurri failed to beat Parma. However, to the relief of the coach and his players, the Beneamata have finally won a Serie A match in 2019.
In truth, their first half performance was dreadful and it seemed likely that their already lengthy goal drought was set to continue. The sheer lack of creativity in the side made it a painful watch at times. The much-maligned Radja Nainggolan was Inter’s liveliest player throughout the opening 45 minutes, but most of his teammates offered very little in an attacking sense. In fairness to Spalletti, whatever he said to his charges during the half-time break worked a treat because they looked like an entirely different team.
From the start of the second half, Inter played in a manner which we have not yet seen from them since the turn of the year, with the possible exception of their Coppa Italia round of 16 tie against Benevento. That said, tonight was always going to be a difficult challenge for a group of players which is completely devoid of confidence. The fact the Crociati won at San Siro earlier in the campaign only goes to show that Inter were never going to be in for an easy ride, regardless of the circumstances.
While the Nerazzurri’s performance levels increased significantly after the interval, the writing appeared to be on the wall when Danilo D’Ambrosio’s goal was disallowed thanks to a handball. Therefore, the players deserve a lot of credit for having the mental fortitude to keep pushing for that elusive victory, especially with everything they have been through as a group in recent weeks. Lautaro Martínez took his chance brilliantly, once again showing that he is not afraid of the huge responsibility that comes with leading the line for Inter.
Though the pressure has been lifted somewhat thanks to their second half display, tonight’s result will mean nothing if Inter do not back it up with wins over Rapid Vienna and Sampdoria next week. Thanks to their recent elimination from the Coppa Italia at the hands of Lazio, fans now expect the Nerazzurri to go as far as possible in the UEFA Europa league in order to make up for this. Every time they take to the field, Spalletti’s players are under intense scrutiny and so they have no choice but to use tonight’s result as a catalyst to become more consistent between now and the end of the season.
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