FLORENCE – Inter ran out comfortable and deserved winners on matchday 21 in Serie A at the Franchi. The Nerazzurri were always in control and sealed a 2-0 win thanks to a goal in each half: after Barella had opened the scoring just after the half-hour mark with a spectacular strike, Perisic finished off Hakimi’s assist for the Nerazzurri’s second.
After the match, Cristian Stellini, who once again filled in for Antonio Conte on the touchline, had the following to say:
How much importance can be placed on this victory?
“After a difficult game three days ago, it wasn’t easy to come to Florence and produce a performance like this. Points now weigh heavily for everyone, and it wasn’t easy to control proceedings like we did having had just two days to recover. We produced an excellent display and created many chances. Our strikers worked well and created space for their teammates, who provided support with forward runs.”
There’s a great collective spirit and the team seem increasingly united in their attitude…
“This spirit is something that needs to be praised, but we’ve always acknowledged this. In fact, sometimes too much selflessness leads to the team losing control. This evening, however, we were very tidy and precise. It really wasn’t easy having so few days to prepare following the match against Juventus.”
Inter lack a naturally left-footed player on the left wing, but could Perisic provide a solution?
“We’re happy with what we’re doing down the left flank, we constantly work on all areas of the pitch and all the options that we have available. In adapting to a different position, Ivan is making a great sacrifice this year and is being forced to make a contribution in the middle of the pitch and the defensive third. His physicality makes him a particularly important player and we’re very happy with what he’s doing. He needs to carry on going down this path.”
How difficult is it for Conte to experience matches from the stands?
“When you watch matches from a distance, it’s always difficult and you find yourself suffering more. For us, his advice and help are both very important. We carefully listen to all that the Coach has to say because he’s our leader.”
Is there a bit of Conte the player in Barella?
“I wish so for him. Like many of his teammates, he’s developing. He knows that he needs to score more goals to make an extra step forward. Perhaps he could even use his head to find the net!”
Gagliardini made an important impact when he came on. Why is he featuring less now than before?
“We’ve increased the number of options in the middle of the park, but Roberto is getting chances and did well to make a contribution after coming off the bench this evening: he helped us become even more dangerous down the left. He’s an important player for us.”