Inter beat rivals AC Milan 1-0 on Sunday to claim their second Derby della Madonnina triumph in less than a month.
Last month, Inter comfortably won 3-0 in the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia where the two sides met in the annual meeting between the Coppa Italia winners and Serie A champions.
This past weekend, in was the a league meeting and Milan stays blue and Internazionale beat Milan 1-0 at a sold-out San Siro on Sunday. That is Stefano Pioli’s side to their third consecutive loss in Serie A.
Striker Lautaro Martínez gave Inter the lead in the 34th minute when he nodded in a corner from close range. The goal was the 2022 World Cup winner’s seventh goal in 12 derbies.
Inter dominated the first half with 76% of possession and prevented Milan from any attempt on goal, but they lost some of their intensity after half-time.
Milan responded with their first shot just before the hour mark but a mid-range header by Olivier Giroud went over the crossbar. They followed up with close chances by substitute Brahim Diaz and another opportunity by Giroud.
Inter then had the ball in the net twice but Romelu Lukaku was denied a goal for a foul, while Lautaro’s strike was ruled out for offside. Inter remain second in the table on 43 points, 13 behind runaway leaders Napoli. Milan dropped to sixth, on 38 points.
Afterwards Inter boss Simone Inzaghi said that his side were ‘absolutely dominating’ in the Derby della Madonnina. While not quite as dominant as the 3-0 Supercoppa Italiana victory in Riyadh last month, this was still a very strong Inter performance.
“It was without doubt a great performance, I congratulated the lads. They were determined, concentrated, focused, we absolutely dominated and winning the derby twice in 20 days was something we wanted to share with our fans,” Inzaghi told DAZN.
“Now we look forward with confidence, we have Lukaku and Brozovic back after four months, despite missing them we still reached the Champions League knockouts, the Coppa Italia semi-final and are second in Serie A.”
The victory still consolidated their position in second place, albeit still 13 points adrift of leaders Napoli, but they are now six points in front of their rivals Milan.
It is remarkable to consider how badly the Inter season had started, with some calling for Inzaghi’s dismissal, when looking at their results now.
“We made a few mistakes, but also were missing some key players. You cannot do without Lukaku and Brozovic for four months, while we were also in a Champions League group with Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
“We have 43 points, it could’ve been a few more, but now we just have to keep playing like this and try to go all the way in every competition, because we are Inter and that is our duty. Let’s not forget that in October we were ninth in the table, since then we’ve won 10 out of 13 games.”
AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli insists he has ‘no regrets’ over his tactics in the Derby della Madonnina defeat to Inter.
“Clearly, we wanted to have a more solid attitude in defence and sat deeper. We didn’t defend badly, but we also should’ve passed it around better and that was why we didn’t manage to counter more in the first half.
“Unfortunately, we were once again unprepared on a set play, otherwise we had worked well as a team. We didn’t do much attacking in the first half, but that was certainly better after the break.”
Pioli had always been proud during the Scudetto run that Milan took an attacking approach first and aiming to play beautiful football, but this was a radical shift.
“It’s clear recently we had not been solid defensively, so we thought these were the right positions to take against a team like Inter. It was still not our intention to only defend, we struggled to get past their initial press, including their strikers.
“As a coach, I have a clear view of the situation. I am certain that if we had played our usual brand of football, we’d have struggled even more tonight. We have lost something from then, we were more solid today and can build on that, but also need to be more aggressive and attacking.
“This is not throwing away all the work we’ve achieved, it is realising there are moments when you need to take a different approach to get back to being competitive.”
With a fourth consecutive defeat in all competition, scoring two goals and conceding 13, the pressure is growing on Pioli.
They are out of the Coppa Italia, lost the Supercoppa Italiana 3-0 to Inter in Riyadh last month and are now in sixth place, already six points adrift of second-place Inter.
“The negative games took away some of our belief, which is natural, because this team is still not that mature. Several players are not in good condition and we struggled to deal with that.
“Losing the derby does not help our morale, but I think tonight we rediscovered some of the solidity, focus and determination that can allow us to get back to our level.”