Inter cannot lose to Empoli after Juve victory – De Boer

The Dutch boss is desperate for his team to maintain the momentum gained after a fine derby victory, and believes the next clash in Serie A will be crucial

Inter coach Frank de Boer called for his side to build on their 2-1 win over champions Juventus at San Siro by beating Empoli on Wednesday.

Goals from Mauro Icardi and Ivan Perisic cancelled out Stephan Lichtsteiner’s opener for Juventus and Inter held on to clinch a win that they fully deserved after a dominant display.

The result gave De Boer his first home win in Serie A since arriving at the club and he praised his team for bouncing back from a 2-0 defeat to Hapoel Be’er Sheva in the Europa League in midweek.

Inter face Empoli away and Bologna at home in their next games, and De Boer expects to see similar performances from his side.

“We trained a lot. I have faith in this team. We have just started and now the players have understood what I want,” he told Premier Sport.

“At one nil we had not lost the game. We fought to the end and we deserved the victory.

“I spoke with them after Thursday [against Hapoel], and I saw how hard they worked. They have to believe in the team’s game. We have a lot of quality.
READ MORE | Icardi & Perisic down Juve

“We have to be realistic. You win titles so early; you cannot win against Juve and then lose against Empoli.

“We have to keep doing what we did today. We have to be pressed together and be compact.”

De Boer reserved special praise for his captain, Icardi, who scored his fourth goal in as many games before assisting Perisic for the winner with a sublime pass.

“Icardi is a great player and he fought until the last minute,” said De Boer. “It’s fantastic.

“Everyone has played to the end and I am very happy. We still have details to work on, but we are on track.”

Icardi echoed his coach’s sentiments, and also defended the Dutchman after he came in for criticism following a disappointing start to the season.

“If we played every game like this, we’d have great success,” Icardi told Mediaset Premium.

“Juventus are a great team, so these matches are the ultimate for us.

“It’s hard for coaches in football. They teach us things, but we are the ones who step onto the pitch and have to put it into action. It’s always the coach who is penalised, but from the start De Boer gave us great hunger, told us to press high and we managed it.”

He added: “Juventus are one of my favourite teams to score goals against. However, we can’t just play one good game. We must continue like this.”