Having offered a damning verdict of their previous performance, Inter boss Luciano Spalletti was thrilled with the reaction of his players after Mauro Icardi inspired the Nerazzurri to a resounding 5-0 victory at Sampdoria.
With Ivan Perisic’s first goal since December putting the visitors ahead, Icardi came to the fore against his former side, netting a 14-minute hat-trick to put the game beyond all doubt before the interval, and surpassing a century of Serie A goals in the process.
The Argentina striker added another one after the break as Inter returned to winning ways in style, and Spalletti – who was heavily critical of his side’s display in their goalless draw with Napoli last time out – believes Inter benefitted from some tough love.
“The aim of my words was to prompt the players to do something more and give them the strength that I believe they have,” the former Roma coach told Mediaset Premium.
“I don’t know what guarantees victory, but I do know what guarantees defeat and that is complimenting players regardless of what they actually do.
“I liked the way the team interpreted the game today against a difficult opponent, who move the ball quickly and showed their quality in moments.
“We allowed Sampdoria nothing today and the collective worked. We played as a team and wanted the victory at all costs.”
100 – Mauro Icardi has now also reached 100 goals for Inter in all competitions, in 172 appearances. Celebrations. #SampdoriaInter
— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) March 18, 2018
Inter looked set to rival Napoli and Juventus in a Scudetto challenge this term, but a torrid run of eight games without a win saw them slip down the table.
Sunday’s victory launched them back into the top four, temporarily at least, but Spalletti claims that any lingering regrets over a missed opportunity have now been cast aside.
“There’s no point having regrets over what has already been, as we’ve already lost too much time. It’s better to focus on the next match and play it like this,” he added.
“We knew when to wait and when to leap on our opponents, and that made us suffer less than in other circumstances.”
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