De Zerbi slams ref and defensive Inter

Sassuolo coach Roberto De Zerbi was frustrated to leave San Siro empty-handed with 70 per cent possession against Inter, as well as penalty controversy.

The Neroverdi dominated the game, but were 2-0 down to Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez counter-attacks before a late Junior Hamed Traore strike.

“When you play like this and leave empty-handed, it certainly hurts,” De Zerbi told Sky Sport Italia after the 2-1 result.

“The overall performance is one thing, then the refereeing incidents are another. We could’ve done more in the first half, as we had double Inter’s shots on goal.

“As for the referee, I think it was a penalty. I don’t like Massimiliano Irrati and every time he officiates our games, he is not in good shape. I didn’t like anything about his approach to this game, from start to finish.”

It was a particularly crucial moment of the match because it was still 1-0, Giacomo Raspadori’s shirt was pulled by Stefan de Vrij, but Inter scored with Lautaro Martinez on the counter from the same move.

De Zerbi also vented his frustration at the general approach Serie A leaders Inter took to the game.

“Possession is meaningless if you don’t have shots on goal, but we still had 15 attempts to Inter’s six. All I can complain about is that my men didn’t close down Ashley Young’s cross, but Lukaku did very well in that situation.

“People keep going on about the importance of balance, but balance means dominating possession without conceding many counter-attacks, which is what we did today. Balance isn’t just defending with 10 men behind the ball.”