Sunday, January 29, 2023

Scudetto still a possibility for Inter, says San Siro goal hero Martinez

SoccerNews in Serie A 14 Jan 2023

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Lautaro Martinez believes Inter can still catch runaway leaders Napoli in the Scudetto race but recognises the Nerazzurri cannot afford mistakes during the second half of the season.

The Argentina forward was the match winner against Hellas Verona on Saturday, with a third-minute strike – his ninth goal of the campaign – enough to secure a narrow 1-0 victory at San Siro.

Simone Inzaghi’s side subsequently moved level with third-placed Juventus, although they still trail Napoli by 10 points after 18 matches.

Nevertheless, Martinez is confident the Nerazzurri have plenty of time to chase down the Partenopei.

“We knew that this would be a game like this, tough, as Verona man-mark all over the pitch,” Martinez told Sky Sport Italia. “We scored early and then did what we had prepared. It was important to get all three points today.

“It is possible [to catch Napoli] as there is a long way to go yet. But we have to make no more mistakes; we need to get every point going or they will be too far away.”

The Verona match was Inter’s fourth in the space of 11 days, a sequence that began with a victory over Napoli.

Most recently, on Tuesday, Inter had been taken to extra time by Parma in the Coppa Italia, and Inzaghi felt the quick turnaround took its toll.

“We were coming off 120 minutes played on Tuesday, but the team remained sharp,” Inzaghi said.

“We scored early and then, despite a little tension in the closing stages, we remained solid and focused without suffering much against a Verona side that could cause us problems.

“I was concerned by our fitness levels with [Hakan] Calhanoglu and [Nicolo] Barella, who pushed themselves so hard to be available today.

“They were in doubt until yesterday, while [Henrikh] Mkhitaryan, [Roberto] Gagliardini and [Kristjan] Asllani really helped out in these games with their midfield performances.”

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