Inter Milan coach Antonio Conte hailed a game “played to perfection” as Lautaro Martinez scored a double, with Romelu Lukaku also on target in a 3-0 win over city rivals AC Milan to extend their lead at the top of Serie A on Sunday.
Inter opened up a four-point lead over their second-placed opponents as Conte’s side target a first league title since their unprecedented treble under Jose Mourinho in 2010. “Credit to the lads, they put in an extraordinary performance, carried out to perfection,” said Conte, bidding to end his former club Juventus’s quest for a 10th consecutive league title.
Lukaku was on top form, the Belgian playing a role in Martinez’s two goals on five and 57 minutes before scoring his 17th goal in the league this season to move top of the Serie A scorers’ chart. Milan, chasing a first Scudetto since 2011, fell to back-to-back Serie A losses for the first time this season, with their title push suffering another blow with a fourth defeat in eight league games.
“We’ve suffered a lot this year,” said Martinez. “Two eliminations in the Italian Cup and the Champions League, this is the only goal we have left and we’re fighting for that.
“The welcome the fans gave us at the stadium gave us goosebumps,” said Conte. The former Chelsea manager warned against complacency against their next opponents, 11th-placed Genoa and lowly Parma. “Psychologically, I dread these two games, that’s where we’ll have to show that we have passed a milestone. These two games will say a lot about what we can do.”
Meanwhile, Milan face a tough trip next week to Roma, with the capital side third before they play Benevento later on Sunday. Coach Stefano Pioli was disappointed to lose the game, but also praised the Inter keeper.
“A striker depends on the team’s performance, but Handanovic hasn’t saved so well for a long time,” said Milan coach Stefano Pioli. “It was a tough week, the worst one of the season.”