Luciano Spalletti confessed the 1-1 draw with Roma was “a fair result, even precious in the circumstances” for Inter, but went back on the Champions League “pain.”
Stephan El Shaarawy had given the visitors the lead at San Siro, but Ivan Perisic’s diving header at the back post in the second half got it back on level terms.
“The result is fair, because there were chances for both sides and we didn’t do well to attack while remaining organised at the back. That is our Achilles heel,” the Coach told Sky Sport Italia.
“We always leave the full-backs too wide and it becomes a problem when defending. After taking the lead, Roma decided to defend deeper and didn’t leave any spaces between their midfield and defence, as they just saw in the final third. They allowed us to move the ball around in midfield and tried to go on the counter, which is how they scored their goal.
“In the second half, we were more organised and patient. There is the risk that you can push too many men forward and leave the gaps at the back, but we did well and slowly dug our way back into the game.”
Perisic got the equaliser, but it was one of his only genuine contributions to the match.
“Perisic does that sometimes, he has the chance to push forward, but turns and goes backwards instead. He is a very useful player, strong in the air and always dangerous at the back post, which is a necessary skill against a physical side like Roma.
“I think we could’ve done better, because we misplaced some passes that should not be allowed at the level of Inter. However, overall, a draw is fine and a precious result in the circumstances.”
Spalletti defended his decision to play out from Samir Handanovic and keep long periods of possession, even if they weren’t always effective.
“You have to convince the players to play the kind of football you want. Nowadays, all clubs want a goalkeeper who is good with his feet, practically a trequartista, because that is the most effective way of starting moves out from the back.
“There are many ways to win and to lose, but you need to be professional, convincing and believable in the eyes of your players.”
Inter are five points clear of Milan in third place and close to securing Champions League qualification, but when asked about his regrets, Spalletti had a specific game in mind.
“The pain we bring with us for the rest of the season is that we didn’t beat PSV Eindhoven, because we were there in the Champions League.
“Unfortunately, we had only 18 players registered due to Financial Fair Play, so add a few injuries and suspensions, you are left with a skeleton squad.”
If the Nerazzurri had beaten PSV at San Siro, with the Dutch side already eliminated, they would’ve qualified for the Round of 16 and knocked out Tottenham Hotspur in the group stage.
Instead, PSV earned a 1-1 draw and Spurs are now preparing for their semi-final.