Simone Inzaghi acknowledges that Inter displayed a ‘show of strength’ by convincingly defeating reigning champions Napoli 3-0. He credits Carlos Augusto for his role as a makeshift center-back and emphasizes that the team is aware of the anticipated headlines.
Although the Nerazzurri faced a few challenges, including Matteo Politano hitting the crossbar and Yann Sommer making notable saves, they demonstrated clinical efficiency at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.
Hakan Calhanoglu scored with a low shot from distance, Nicolò Barella navigated between defenders for a goal, and Marcus Thuram tapped in late on Juan Cuadrado’s assist.
“The first half started well and the Thuram goal was disallowed for a very tight offside,” Inzaghi told DAZN.
“Napoli are the Champions of Italy, we ran some risks on the Politano chance and the Sommer saves, but the lads deserved it and I hugged them all individually.
“This was our fifth away fixture in the last six games, the third in a week, and we needed a performance like this. Once we went 2-0 up, we took full control.
“Winning like this in Naples is satisfying, but we also know it is only Week 14 and there is a very long way to go.”
The observations about Inter often emphasize their newfound ‘maturity’ since reaching the Champions League Final last season, and Inzaghi concurs with this assessment. He specifically highlights their ability to adapt to a shortage of defenders as evidence of this maturity.
“It was a show of strength, of team spirit, those who started and came on, for example we lost De Vrij after 18 minutes with two other defenders already out. Carlos Augusto had not played in the back three for a couple of years, he did it in Serie B I think under Giovanni Stroppa at Monza.
Inzaghi expected ‘some difficulties’ coming to napoli
“I did not want to shift Matteo Darmian off the right flank, as it was tricky dealing with the Georgian (Kvicha Kvaratskhelia). I preferred to opt for Carlos Augusto and he did really well.
“Coming to Naples, you have to expect some difficulties. We had prepared in a certain way to push our wing-backs against their full-backs, because the further away you keep Napoli from the penalty area, the better. The only time we really struggled was when we were defending too deep.”
With Diego Milito present in the DAZN studio as a pundit, Inzaghi was queried about potential similarities between the dynamic of Milito-Samuel Eto’o and that of Lautaro Martinez with Thuram, especially after that performance against Napoli.
“There are comparisons, as one is more dangerous in the penalty area, the other moves around him. We must also not forget that we have players like Alexis Sanchez and Marko Arnautovic who can help us out, as they did midweek in the Champions League.”
Inter has delivered dominant performances throughout this season, securing their place in the Champions League Round of 16.
“It was honestly not expected to do this well immediately with many new players. The step up in quality comes when you lose players and have to call on others to help out, for instance Carlos Augusto as a centre-back.
“Now we will see their condition, we hope to have Alessandro Bastoni back soon, Pavard in 10-15 days, while there is a little more pessimism around De Vrij.
“I am sure tomorrow they will write that Inter have no rivals, while on Wednesday we were 3-0 down against Benfica and they were writing very different headlines. We know that, we’ve experienced it and can come to expect it.”