Inter Milan head coach Luciano Spalletti was delighted with his side’s display despite being unable to breakdown arch rivals AC Milan in a goalless draw at the San Siro.
Mauro Icardi could have had a hat-trick, like he did in the return fixture in October, after having a goal ruled out by Video Assistant Referee for a tight offside decision while also missing two open goals.
However, Spalletti refused to blame the 25-year-old for failing to secure maximum points, which would have effectively ended the Rossoneri’s Champions League hopes, as Inter maintained their eight-point advantage over their local rivals in fourth place.
The 59-year-old told inter.it: “I’m really happy with my team because they played the game while showing that they knew what they had to do. The result will follow on from that.
“After this match, nothing changes. We’ve picked up a point and kept Milan eight points behind us.
“The chances for Icardi? It can happen and even he makes mistakes. It’s a bit of a disappointment because they could have secured us the three points.
“But, we have to continue forwards along this road, showing even more ruthlessness and getting more players in the area.”
Nerazzurri extended their unbeaten Serie A run to five matches and have lost just once in 2018 and Spalletti admitted he has more belief in his team than he did at the start of the campaign.
“I have often criticised the team,” he added. “Even when we were picking up plenty of points at the start of the season.
“I must now acknowledge that this is a solid Inter side. I am confident for the future and I am really pleased with how the lads are playing.
“We still have some things to work on but we are playing with character and we are well aware of what we need to do to reach our objective.
“We could’ve cut off Milan by winning, but I am extremely pleased with how we are playing. One goal here and there doesn’t change our path.
“However, the most important thing was how the players reacted when in difficulty. We pushed forward despite various obstacles and the lads were rewarded.
“We made some changes from a tactical point of view and everyone now feels more at ease.”
AC Milan boss Gennaro Gattuso admitted his side rode their luck at times but believes there is still a chance of Champions League football next season after the performance in the derby stalemate.
He told acmilan.com: “We fought hard to win this point, we actually risked to concede many times. Inter deserved a bit more, they really made us struggle.
“On the other hand, we missed too many passes. We need to recover our energy and understand why we were so inaccurate in the last 20 minutes. I’m happy about the point though.
“We will still fight for a Champions League qualifying spot until there is no hope.”
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