Sunday, March 24, 2019

Spalletti urges ´timid´ Inter to light San Siro fire

SoccerNews in Serie A 10 Mar 2019

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Luciano Spalletti implored Inter to shed their San Siro shyness after a largely restrained 2-0 home win over SPAL on Sunday.

Second-half goals from Matteo Politano and Roberto Gagliardini secured the Nerazzurri their first victory in four matches in all competitions and established a six-point buffer to fifth-place Roma.

The result also kept city rivals AC Milan in close quarters ahead of next weekend’s blockbuster Derby della Madonnina.

Miranda and Marcelo Brozovic could miss that match after sustaining nose and thigh injuries respectively versus SPAL, against whom they were already without Radja Nainggolan, Ivan Perisic and Mauro Icardi.

Spalletti, though, sees bigger concerns with his team’s timidity on their home turf, Inter having taken until winger Politano’s 67th-minute opener to find their groove.

“Despite our absences, 11 players worthy of Inter headed out onto the pitch today,” Spalletti said.

“We struggled a bit with the emotions at the start and this must not happen. We knew we had to win and once our fire started to burn inside then we broke the deadlock and went on to win.

“We were a bit timid and insecure during the first half. The lads had a different conviction after our second goal and we regained our characteristics. In the second half I could see what we were really about. 

“I know my players well and at times we’re held back by our emotions. We need the courage to make choices.

“We’re here to win while wearing this shirt. We have to achieve this because only by doing this can you be a part of Inter.”

Star striker Icardi, who claims a knee problem is preventing him from training, was not seen at San Siro amid an ongoing contract dispute.

The 26-year-old has not featured since being stripped of the captaincy in February and Spalletti is reluctant to discuss his situation any further.

“I won’t talk about him, because whatever I say gets interpreted in every way possible,” he said.

“We have a common goal, which is victory. It is victories and performances that determine whether you can be an Inter player.”

Lautaro Martinez, Inter’s starting striker in Icardi’s absence, is suspended for Thursday’s second-leg encounter against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League last 16.

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