Luciano Spalletti criticised Inter’s passive approach as they lost 2-0 at Barcelona in Group B of the Champions League.
Inter struggled to get a foothold in Wednesday’s contest at Camp Nou despite Barca captain Lionel Messi’s absence due to a fractured arm.
Rafinha, who was on loan at Inter last season, gave Barca a first-half lead and Jordi Alba wrapped it up for the hosts with seven minutes remaining.
And Spalletti was unhappy with the way his Inter team allowed Barca to set the game’s tempo and rhythm, with Arthur giving a midfield masterclass.
“I’m sad mostly because I wanted a totally different approach in the first half,” Spalletti told reporters.
“We were not brave enough to play the ball when we were in possession and we allowed Barcelona to play as they prefer.
“You cannot come here to defend and try to score on one counter-attack, you need to play better with the ball if you want to achieve something in this stadium.
“We didn’t show as much character compared to our first two Champions League games. We weren’t courageous enough and the opposition made the most of our attitude. We didn’t do as much as we can.
“We also could have scored over the course of the game but they were stronger than us and deserved to win. They played well, passing the ball quickly and thinking fast.”
9 – Nine saves from Handanovic – record for an Inter goalkeeper in a CL game (Toldo also 9 saves 2003 vs Arsenal). Cat.
— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) October 24, 2018
Samir Handanovic made nine saves to keep the score down, while Philippe Coutinho hit the crossbar, but Barca moved three points clear at the top of Group B.
Inter, though, are likely to follow Barca into the next phase as a 2-2 draw between PSV and Tottenham earlier in the day gives the Serie A side a five-point cushion in second spot.
“Obviously we are happy about the result in the other game,” Spalletti added. “But we must focus on the fact that we weren’t at our best. We need to play much better next time because we are a team with ambition.”
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) October 24, 2018
Ernesto Valverde turned to Rafinha as Messi’s replacement and the Brazilian justified that faith with a lively performance, impressing his old boss.
“Rafinha is a player we wanted to sign but couldn’t,” Spalletti continued. “He didn’t only score, I enjoyed watching him play. He’s a guy who’s going to do good things for Barcelona.”
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