Inter coach Luciano Spalletti said his players’ patient approach paid dividends after they scored three goals in the final half-hour to beat Bologna 3-0 at Stadio Renato Dall’Ara.
Radja Nainggolan, making his Inter debut, opened the scoring after 66 minutes of a tightly contested match before Antonio Candreva and Ivan Perisic scored in the last 10 minutes to seal the Nerazzurri’s first Serie A win of the season.
In the absence of injured captain Mauro Icardi, Spalletti played Keita Balde Diao as a lone striker and admitted that breaking Filippo Inzaghi’s side down proved far from straightforward.
“After the goal, the team played with more freedom, we found more space and scored three wonderful goals,” said Spalletti.
“We played well, we looked to stay balanced and not take the risk of losing shape for their counter-attacks.
“It wasn’t easy to find space because Bologna were organised all match. We were patient because there was a risk of starting to panic. We only needed a little more quality when playing in the final third.
“Against teams like that, we need to manage the ball better and create numerical superiority up the pitch, also while looking to play off the shoulders of their defenders. We still have some players who aren’t in peak condition – we’ll have to get up to that quickly because you really need to sweat to win games.”
— Inter (@Inter_en) September 1, 2018
Nainggolan, whose debut had been delayed until the Bologna game by a muscular injury, said he was not surprised by Bologna’s defensive approach.
The €38million signing from Roma missed Inter’s 1-0 defeat to Sassuolo on the opening day of the season and their subsequent 2-2 draw with Torino but celebrated his return to fitness with a fine goal.
He said: “We needed the three points, we responded brilliantly today after the first two games of the season.
“It’s normal that a team like Bologna sits back against us.
“They were looking to not lose but after going ahead, I believe that we did well to make the most of the spaces that opened up.”
“It’s an important win,” he added, before looking ahead to Inter’s Serie A clash with Parma and their Champions League opener against Tottenham.
“Now, we have two weeks off to recharge and September will be a tough month in the calendar.”
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