Inter boss Luciano Spalletti lauded Mauro Icardi as the complete striker after his captain cast himself as the hat-trick hero in a stunning 3-2 Derby della Madonnina triumph over AC Milan.
Argentina international Icardi opened the scoring with his first goal from open play since August and another brilliantly instinctive finish restored Inter’s advantage after Suso’s equaliser for Milan, who rallied impressively during the second half.
Inter 9/2 to beat Napoli
A Samir Handanovic own goal meant a third consecutive 2-2 draw in this fixture was on the cards, but Icardi stepped up in nerveless fashion to dispatch a 90th-minute penalty after Ricardo Rodriguez was adjudged to have fouled Danilo D’Ambrosio.
“Mauro was grandiose today. Grandiose,” Spalletti told Mediaset Premium.
“Despite all the responsibility poured on his shoulders, he has the humility to listen to advice and works hard dropping back to win the ball.
“Icardi is a complete striker and for his age shoulders so much responsibility.”
Inter are unbeaten in eight Serie A games under Spalletti, winning seven, and have a mouth-watering trip to face leaders Napoli on the agenda next weekend.
22 – This is the first time since Serie A 2002-03 that Inter collect 22 points over the starting 8 games of the season. Sprint. #InterMilanpic.twitter.com/cYB9pdayg5
— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) October 15, 2017
Nevertheless, the former Roma head coach conceded his side had been given a fright by their spirited neighbours.
“At times in the second half we were pushed too deep and forced back, whereas in the first half we kept the ball down and tried to pass through the centre with the diamond midfield,” he said.
“Winning these games gives you enthusiasm but, if you analyse it carefully, we were very professional to understand the right moments of the match.
“We had the right determination for the derby. However, we have got to improve and do more, because at times we were really struggling.”