Hakan Calhanoglu and Henrikh Mkhitaryan have earned plaudits for their performance in Inter Milan’s Serie A win against Juventus.
Today’s print edition of Milan-based newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, via FCInterNews, hail the duo’s decisive influence in central areas.
The midfield battle was always likely to be decisive in yesterday’s Derby d’Italia.
The Juventus trio of Weston McKennie, Adrien Rabiot, and Manuel Locatelli brought plenty of energy, and tactical organization and discipline.
That trio has been foundational to the Bianconeri’s consistent string of performances this season.
So Inter’s answer to those three was always going to be important.
And yesterday, Inter’s midfielders firmly answered “present.”
Calhanoglu & Mkhitaryan Praised For Performances For Inter Vs Juventus
Inter midfielder Nicolo Barella put in a solid shift, and showed his creativity in the final third in a few flashes.
But in the view of the Gazzetta, it was Calhanoglu and Mkhitaryan who were really the basis of Inter’s engine room.
The Derby d’Italia was always going to be a hard-fought match.
So the thing that Inter needed in midfield above all was energy and discipline.
Playing in the holding midfield role, Calhanoglu was just about pitch-perfect. The former AC Milan man was Inter’s heartbeat in possession, as he usually is.
The accurate long passes are what have grabbed the headlines for Calhanoglu.
But the 29-year-old’s short-passing game and dribbling were also key to Inter keeping hold of the ball against Juventus’s pressing.
And Calhanoglu also made a couple vital clearances from his own penalty area.
Meanwhile, Mkhitaryan also put in a very solid shift.
The 35-year-old is a player from whom these kinds of performances are now the standard.
There was nothing flashy in possession from Mkhitaryan.
But the former Arsenal and Roma midfielder was unerring and kept things simple when he had to to keep a foothold in the match for Inter.
And defensively, the Armenian showed all his workrate and positional intelligence to never give the Bianconeri midfielders an inch of space to make anything happen.