Inter and Milan came into the match in polar-opposite situations, but you would not have guessed who the form team was once the match started. The Nerazzurri put in their best performance of the year, scoring three goals and dominating large parts of the match against their much-fancied opponents.
Here are our Five Takeaways from the match:
Lautaro Ready To Lead The Line
The last time I wrote an article like this, I questioned whether Lautaro had the mentality and discipline to lead the line for an entire season. I’m happy to put my hand up and admit that he’s put doubts to rest with his past two matches.
He battled hard against SPAL, but was calm enough to avoid getting the yellow that would’ve ruled him out of today’s match. Today, against one of the best performing back-lines in Europe, he put in another brilliant display - unselfishly setting up Vecino’s goal, then holding his nerve to net the winning penalty.
Not only that, he once again linked up with his team mates, dribbled with intent and genuinely caused Milan headaches for 90 minutes. All the while avoiding the yellow card that would’ve ruled up out of the match against Lazio. Mentally, the kid has it. Should Icardi leave in the summer, Inter may not have to shell out a huge sum for a like-for-like replacement. He might alright be here.
To put it bluntly, there are matches were Matias Vecino looks absolutely dreadful - and they occur with reasonable regularity. Today was not one of those games, however, as the Uruguayan constantly found space between Milan’s midfield and defense, and showed the technical ability he so often lacks.
He closed down space on defense, made some threatening runs and, most importantly, scored a huge early goal. We all know how good he can be, but his consistency remains the biggest concern.
This role may suit him for the remainder for the season, particularly while Radja is out, but the club will need to make a big call on him this summer.
Milan Skriniar Should Be Our Captain
The whole captaincy issue at our club seems to be a bit of a mess at the moment. Officially it’s Samir Handanovic, but (apparently) Andrea Ranocchia is the real leader in the dressing room.
Who know’s what role Icardi plays when/if he comes back? That said, there is a man in our squad that absolutely everyone can get behind - Milan Skriniar.
Today was another example of the sort of brilliant performance which Interisti have grown accustomed to from the Slovakian wall. More than that, however, he’s a player who rallies his team mates and always gives 100% out on the field.
Given the way the armband came about as well as his advancing years, I wouldn’t mind seeing the club ask Handanovic to pass the armband to Skriniar for next season and give the club their long-term leader.
Luciano Spalletti Will Stay Till The End Of The Season
There seemed to a sudden proliferation of news stories suggesting that Luciano Spalletti would be fired if he lost the derby.
Diabolical as the performance against Frankfurt may have been, this would still have been a massive step for the club to make. They didn’t have to make a decision, however, as Spalletti perfectly prepared the team for the game.
He moved Vecino forward, kept faith in Gagliardini to match the physicality of Kessie and Bakayoko and encouraged his team to play through what was a poor Milanese press. It led to one of the most dominant first halves of Inter’s season.
Spalletti isn’t perfect and I don’t think he should be here next year but, right now, he’s the coach with the greatest chance of delivering Champions League qualification. A dressing room that is losing faith in their coach, doesn’t perform like that under immense pressure.
Everything Is In Our Hands
At the start of the season, the absolute #1 priority must have been re-qualifying for the Champions League. The Coppa, the last 16 of the CL or a deep EL run would’ve been nice, but they’d have been meaningless if we had finished 5th.
That said, Inter is still well on track to achieve their #1 objective. We’re two points clear of Milan, potentially five on Lazio and six on Roma. We will need to play the two Roman sides at home.
After the international break, Radja should return and the only ‘injury’ concern will be Mauro Icardi’s knee. We will have squad depth, experience and certainly the necessary talent to deliver on that objective. The team showed today just what they are capable of. Everything is up to us.
What do you think? Post your comments below!