Inzaghi: "A key match and a deserved win"


The Nerazzurri boss discusses the 3-2 success over Napoli: "I told the lads we'd need to starve Napoli of the ball if we wanted to win”

MILAN – Simone Inzaghi underlined the importance of Sunday's hard-earned victory over Napoli – a result that takes his side to within four points of their opponents and AC Milan at the top of the table.

The Nerazzurri fought back after Piotr Zielinski's opener, with Hakan Calhanoglu from the penalty spot and Ivan Perisic turning it around in the first half. Lautaro Martinez then made it 3-1 before Dries Mertens's goal made for a nervy finale, with Inter holding on through eight minutes of stoppage time to claim a vital three points.

“It was a key match and we have another one in three days' time but we'll think that tomorrow,” Inzaghi commented after the game. “We've got a deserved win against an excellent team today.

"We conceded two goals playing out and then there were eight minutes of added time but we managed to dig in and hold on. You expect that against Napoli, especially with the fatigue we accumulated on international duty

“I had various players unavailable, [Edin] Dzeko was not at his best and [Joaquin] Correa felt a twinge. I only had [Martin] Satriano left and he did very well when he came on.”

The boss then explained the choice of penalty taker: “This morning Lautaro, Calhanoglu and Perisic practised and they all scored but Hakan is in great form at the moment and he showed once again that he's got tremendous character and personality, There was a lot of pressure on that penalty as we were behind. If he hadn't picked up a booking, I wouldn't have taken him off.”

Inzaghi also revealed his side's blueprint for the victory: “Napoli are the team with the most possession in Serie A so we knew we needed to be brave and keep the ball more. That was the only way we'd be able to win this game and it went to plan. 

“We need to keep going as we are. We have to do well in Serie A and in the Champions League too because our fans deserve the joy of seeing their team reach the knockout stages again as it's been a while. 

“We have a great opportunity on Wednesday. We're not in the best of situations because we have a few injury problems but it's like that for everyone at the moment.”

On Lautaro Martinez rediscovering his scoring boots: “I was never worried because he was getting into scoring positions and as a former striker myself I know you get spells when the ball just doesn't want to go in. 

“He scored a superb goal tonight but he's always been calm. He loves playing for this club. I'm very happy with our strikers.”

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