Two wins in a row means that Inter is ending 2018 on a positive streak as the ‘December curse’ is broken by a narrow 1-0 victory against Empoli on the road. “These are games where you can easily slip up if you don’t have the right mentality.” said Spaletti.
He followed on saying “We didn’t play too well in the first period, but we did better in the second half due to their energy levels dropping off. We managed to cause their backline a lot of problems.” and he was right, Empoli made it difficult for Inter to find space and create chances early on.
Inter finally broke the deadlock in the 72nd minute thanks to a low shot from Keita Balde and an assist from Sime Vrsaljko.
The Inter manager spoke on Keita saying “Keita is an absolutely fantastic guy, he’s always lively and likes to have fun with his teammates. We have some great individuals in our squad, meaning we’re a very strong team. Unfortunately, our strikers can’t all play at the same time. We have to alternate between them and get the best out of them, like we’ve done in the last two games with Keita and Lautaro. El Toro is a strong guy, but he’s a centre forward. If you play him anywhere else he loses his quality. When he takes to the pitch, he always manages to shake things up: he makes a great impact both in terms of his physicality and his character.”
In the second half Radja Nainggolan was brought on for Matias Vecino as his one game suspension against Napoli had ended and Inter hoped to bring on fresh legs to pile the pressure on Empoli.
“I put him on because we were lacking bursts of energy – he has the the right qualities to get on top of his opponents and win lost balls. I thought he’d be able to help me out, and he did just that.” Inter’s strong finish to 2018 with back to back victories against Napoli and Empoli meant that Spaletti had a few words to say for 2019 and the clubs objectives; “We have to do well in the league, and the Coppa Italia and Europa League are also set to begin. We have to work hard in order win trophies. We’re in contention to win two competitions, and if we want to win we have to improve: we were caught out on the break at times today after losing the ball too easily, while we also weren’t able to finish off the match despite having a number of chances.”