Inter head coach Simone Inzaghi believes that his captain and goalkeeper Samir Handanovic was vindicated by his performance against Sassuolo this evening.
Speaking to Italian broadcaster Sky Sport Italia after the match, the coach gave his immediate reaction to an eventful match which saw his team come back from a difficult start to take all three points from the Mapei Stadium, with Handanovic at the centre of a number of crucial episodes.
The Slovenian managed to avoid getting himself sent off at the end of the first half when an underhit Stefan de Vrij backpass left him one-on-one with Gregorie Defrel, but referee Luca Pairetto adjudged him not to have gotten enough contact on the Frenchman to warrant a straight red card and waved play on.
Other than this, the Nerazzurri captain responded to his recent critics with a number of important saves which kept his team in the game, in particular one on Sassuolo attacker Jeremie Boga.
“Handanovic did very well on the Defrel incident, and then with Boga’s shot,” Inzaghi stated. “In my opinion Handanovic is a prodigious goalkeeper about whom I have heard many rumours, for me the decision was correct. We knew it was a complicated game, I saw a team that had a great desire to respond.”
Asked whether the first half against Alessio Dionisi’s men was his team’s most difficult so far this season he stated, “I think not, we went for it in the first few minutes. We must always take into account the fact that there are also the opponents against us.”
He went on, “A team like Sassuolo is going to make us suffer, the team was compact, they suffered when they had to, and in the end I think they deserved the victory.”
On his four second-half subs, he said that “I think that playing every three days there was a need to make them, there were players who came out and who didn’t deserve to come out, but I had to give impetus to the team because there were so many tired players.”
“We have come out of a terrible cycle,” he went on, “now we will train with those 6-7 who will remain in Appiano and then we will see more like the second half. We made many technical mistakes especially in the first half hour of the first half.”
“In the league we may have gotten a couple of points more than perhaps we would have deserved,” the coach reflected, “but I am happy with how the team has been able to suffer.”
He continued, “All the big players are playing every three days. We knew that in the second half we would have had many important matches close together and that we can get there in the best way.”
Of match-winning substitute Edin Dzeko he stated, “I knew him as an opponent,but I had never coached him. I was struck by his availability and how he trains, he never backs down.”
“Then it’s normal to have to make evaluations,” he went on, “Correa came back from an injury, Sanchez has just returned. I must be good at alternating them, it is clear that Lautaro, Dzeko, Correa and Sanchez are a great attack.”
“Initially I had thought about making three changes,” Inzaghi concluded, “then I decided to make all four because I needed a little more push. I knew that those four would help me a lot.”