Luciano Spalletti confessed they “were terrible in the first half” of their defeat to Cagliari, but warned Mauro Icardi must “use the pitch to do what is best for Inter.”
The Nerazzurri were beaten 2-1 in Sardinia by Luca Ceppitelli and Leonardo Pavoletti goals, around a Lautaro Martinez header, while Nicolò Barella missed a late penalty.
“Let’s not get into details, suffice to say Inter were terrible in the first half,” shrugged a clearly disappointed Spalletti on Sky Sport Italia.
“We were ponderous in our decision-making, we hesitated, moved the ball slowly, weren’t prepared to pounce where the ball fell, didn’t win many individual duels and didn’t do enough.
“Cagliari scored very good goals and created them by running in front of the defender so they could anticipate on the cross. We have these capabilities too, but we didn’t make the most of them.
“It looks as if on the Luca Ceppitelli goal there was a deflection off Ivan Perisic too.”
Inter’s 3-3 draw at Fiorentina was the only time all season in Serie A that they managed to come back from a losing situation.
“It’s about the reaction, the attitude and tonight I saw that, because we did very well for long spells in the second half. If you don’t score to make that count, it turns into a statistic to be waved at you, but it’s important to see the game in total.”
Spalletti was asked if introducing centre-back Andrea Ranocchia as a striker for the last five minutes showed a lack of options in Icardi’s absence, but he took the chance to aim a sideswipe at the former captain’s comments.
“I can say the same things again, as if there’s a way of helping Inter and showing how much you care about Inter, then you should be on the field.
“There are some objective issues that create difficulties, so based on the result, Cagliari’s attitude in the last five minutes, there was no point putting on another quick player. We needed someone big in the box to get his head to crosses, even to just knock them down for others.
“We had 85 minutes to go around Cagliari and either didn’t manage it or were unlucky, so we had to try something different.
“We seem to alternate, during a single game or during a period of the season, where we play at a very high level and then immediately plummet. We struggle to maintain consistency with the kind of football we want to play.
“There have been some complications, such as what happened last week in Florence, that can affect confidence, but we’ve got to get used to it. If we wear this jersey, it’s because we must know how to handle these pressures.
“I repeat, we were waiting for things to get sorted out. In this case, he has a week before he can finish his treatment plan, which ought to resolve the pain in his knee. Then he, just like Keita, can use the pitch to try to do what is good for Inter. It has to be done there.”
Spalletti then got irritable with the line of questioning from Sky Sport Italia, who asked why Icardi couldn’t grit his teeth and play through the pain, as he claimed to have done in the past?
“Why do you put the questions over Icardi and Keita differently? Why do you ask about how long it’ll take Keita to recover, but phrase it differently for Icardi’s absence? You are suggesting there’s something wrong in his behaviour, otherwise you’d treat both situations the same way.
“If you don’t find it convincing, that’s your problem.”