“In terms of the result, nothing has changed. There is one less game to play but, at home, we should always try to win.” Those were the words of Luciano Spalletti during his post-match press conference in the aftermath of Inter’s 1-1 draw against Roma last night. The Giallorossi went ahead within the opening 15 minutes, before Ivan Perišić equalised midway through the second half. Indeed, the Nerazzurri were by far the superior side after the half-time interval and should ultimately have managed to clinch all three points.
Spalletti’s charges went into the game knowing that victory would see them move seven points clear of AC Milan, who currently occupy fourth place, so it is disappointing they were unable to take advantage of such a glorious opportunity to all but seal qualification for next season’s UEFA Champions League group stage. With five games left to play, it would still require a dramatic turnaround in events for the Beneamata not to clinch their place at European football’s top table ahead of the forthcoming campaign.
As for the encounter with Claudio Ranieri’s side itself, Inter’s coaching staff should have taken greater note of the fact that every time Matteo Politano crossed the ball into the box from the right flank, chaos erupted within the visitors’ defence. Hence, Spalletti’s decision to substitute the former Sassuolo winger for the ineffectual Keita Baldé left many fans and journalists baffled as to what game he was watching. It made no sense whatsoever to replace the one player who posed a genuine threat to the Roma rearguard throughout the game.
In terms of its effect on the Serie A table, last night’s result is actually a reasonably good one for Inter. Given AC Milan’s failure to beat Parma and Lazio’s surprise 2-1 defeat at home to Chievo, the Nerazzurri have not lost any ground and head into next weekend’s Derby d’Italia against Juventus in a very strong position as far as their main objective is concerned. After all, this season was all about consolidating their status as a Champions League club and, despite everything, Spalletti and his players are on course to do exactly that.
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