After closing in on qualification for the Champions League knockout rounds in midweek, Inter Milan’s revival continued on Sunday with a 2-0 Serie A win over Salernitana.
After a dramatic 3-3 draw against Barcelona on Wednesday night, Simone Inzaghi’s team defeated Salernitana at the San Siro courtesy to goals from Lautaro Martinez and Nicolo Barella either side of halftime.
Inter moved up to seventh place after their second straight league win, trailing league leaders Atalanta by six points, a difference that will be increased to eight if Napoli beats Bologna later on Sunday.
“It means a lot, it means we’ve grown,” Martinez told Sky Sport Italia.
“We’re on the right track, we started the season badly and lost important points, but we’ve turned the page now.”
Inter are still without the injured Romelu Lukaku and midfield lynchpin Marcelo Brozovic but don’t appear to be missing either as their form has picked up just as Inzaghi’s job seemed in question.
Three wins in their previous four matches, including four points from Barcelona in the Champions League, have strengthened Inter and stirred Martinez back into life.
Martinez had been in a frightening drought until he smashed in a magnificent strike at the Camp Nou, and he backed that up with a goal in the 15th minute.
After being passed by Nicolo Barella following Denzel Dumfries’ foray down the right flank, the Argentina forward smashed home his first league goal since August – his fifth of the season in all competitions.
Inter’s lead was nearly doubled six minutes after the break when Martinez headed Hakan Calhanoglu’s free-kick narrowly over the bar.
But Barella made sure Inter would collect the points six minutes later and Calhanoglu was again involved with a wonderful pass.
Barella scored his third goal of the season after clipping a superb left-footed pass over the top and cutting inside defender Lorenzo Pirola.
Barella’s goal ended Salernitana’s resistance and put them in 12th place, five points clear of Verona, who are just outside the relegation zone and face AC Milan on Sunday night.