Luciano Spalletti critiqued Inter for their inconsistent approach and failure to take chances in the 1-0 defeat to Juventus, but explained his substitutions.
The Nerazzurri had gone close with two big opportunities wasted in the first half, above all Roberto Gagliardini scuffing his finish on to the inside of the far post, but a Mario Mandzukic diving header after the break proved decisive.
To add insult to injury, the assist was provided by Joao Cancelo, who spent last season on loan at Inter, but the San Siro side couldn’t afford to buy him outright.
“The game had to be played a certain way with a consistent attitude, realising there are moments when you are going to be under pressure and need to get 10 players behind the ball,” Spalletti told Sky Sport Italia.
“We did that largely well, but there are some situations where we just don’t interpret or read them properly, whereas Juventus never get that wrong.
“If someone takes the lead, of course it makes the difference, but we made too many banal and cheap errors. There was one incident where we burst away and got behind their defence, but couldn’t get the ball to the forwards. That sort of thing can make the difference, as we struggle to be consistent for 90 minutes.
“There’s always someone who is too slow, who talks too much, who is lax and not on the same page as the others. We had largely played well and the pressing to run back and defend when needed was a good sign.
“Unfortunately, Juve are smart and we are naïve. They have a way of wasting five minutes after a foul.”
Mauro Icardi didn’t manage a single shot on goal this evening.
“Icardi did what he had to do, he ran hard and to be honest did far better tonight than in other occasions to track back and get the ball, combining with the midfield.”
The goal came from a long ball over the top to send Cancelo down the left and his cross from the by-line found Mandzukic’s header at the back post.
“The defensive line wasn’t level after a previous move. That is again the sort of thing that happens to us, we get too lax and once we go behind, it becomes more difficult to get it back on track.
“When we get sluggish or do things half-hearted, the other team takes advantage. Whereas we had chances and failed to take them, as it would’ve made everything easier if we had gone in front.”
Spalletti was criticised on social media for replacing Matteo Politano with Borja Valero.
“Borja Valero is someone who really does know when to speed it up, to slow it down, to get the ball forward or wait until the right moment. I needed his quality in midfield.”