Despite having scored eight goals in his last seven appearances, Stefano Pioli warns that Mauro Icardi can still improve.
Icardi, 23, had an indifferent start to the Serie A campaign, struggling for form as well as his infamous fall out with the Inter Ultras following comments the Inter Captain had made in his autobiography. However, with 14 goals in 17 appearances across all competitions this season, the Argentine has clearly put it all behind him, stepped up his game and is leading his teammates from the front. Speaking at an Inter press conference ahead of the huge game against Napoli at the San Paolo, Pioli was asked if he was happy to have his star striker at his disposal;
“He is proving to be one of the best in the world, which can still grow. He really wants to train and is an example for his teammates from the commitment point of view”.
Inter go into the game against Napoli off the back of their 4-2 victory over Fiorentina at the San Siro. It was a welcome win for Pioli but his team came under criticism for their struggles to control and kill the game off after La Viola were reduced to ten men. Pioli was asked what his side needed to do to improve match management;
“During a game we change many mental aspects but we have to stay compact and with clear ideas, so you can manage races. We have the players to do that, we must always work and know each other better”.
Inter’s win over Fiorentina will certainly give them confidence going into the game against Napoli with I Nerazzurri’s dream of a top three finish currently standing as an outside bet, eight points behind AC Milan. Napoli themselves will be looking to cut the gap behind the top three with a win over Inter following their disappointing draw at home to Sassuolo on Monday night. Friday evening’s game promises to be an intriguing contest, but does Pioli think the result will be decisive for either side?
“It will be a major challenge but not decisive for both…Napoli plays well, we know what to expect from our opponents. We have prepared well and will give out best”.