Inter boss Frank de Boer singled Mauro Icardi out for special praise and some gentle ribbing after the club skipper bagged both goals in his side’s 2-1 win over in-form Torino.
The hosts dominated from start to finish at San Siro, taking a first-half lead when Icardi inadvertently deflected Joe Hart’s attempted block into the net with his knee.
Having wasted a string of chances to make the game safe, Inter were stung on 63 minutes when Andrea Belotti took advantage of a defensive mix-up to make it 1-1.
Three minutes from time, however, Icardi rifled home superbly on the turn, bringing to an end a miserable run of three consecutive league defeats.
The goals took the Argentinian’s tally for the season to eight, but they were his first in more than a month and came in the wake of a bitter dispute with a section of the club’s fans regarding certain passages in the 23-year-old’s recently-published autobiography.
De Boer, however, made light of the situation as he praised his leading scorer’s performance.
“Icardi? I always said I think he is a fantastic player that can make a great contribution to the team,” he said. “OK, with the book, it did not go so great, but on the pitch he always gives the maximum.”
The result eased the pressure on De Boer, whose position has come under increasing scrutiny in recent weeks, a fact acknowledged by the Dutchman.
“Do I feel safer after this victory? A little,” he said. “We have to win games and for me it is also very important how you win games. Against Sampdoria [Inter’s next opponents] we have to play with the same attitude that we had today and take no steps back.
“The support of the board is very important, but it is all about the attitude of the team and today it was the right one. I always thought positively, even if the times were hard. I worked hard as always and the result of that was today. I have great confidence in the team and I also thank the fans who have supported me so much, as well as the players during the game. Beyond the result, I saw a good performance and a very united team.”
The win, Inter’s fourth of the league season, lifted them to 10th place in the Serie A table.