It was perhaps more of a slog than initially expected, but the early Lautaro Martinez strike put them on the right track and ultimately proved enough to beat Verona at San Siro.
“We knew that this would be a game like this, tough, as Verona man-mark all over the pitch,” El Toro told Sky Sport Italia.
“We scored early and then did what we had prepared. It was important to get all three points today.”
Napoli are now nine points clear at the top of the table, 10 in front of Inter and Juventus, so can the Nerazzurri still hope for the Scudetto?
“It is possible, as there is a long way to go yet, but we have to make no more mistakes, we need to get every point going or they will be too far away.”
Despite the strain of the World Cup in Qatar – and the celebrations including lots of traditional Argentine barbecue meat that followed – how did Lautaro Martinez start 2023 in such good shape?
“Meat is good for you! As I said, I didn’t do what I wanted in the World Cup, but I always try to give people joy.”
He had some regrets from the tournament, losing his place in the starting XI and wasting some big scoring opportunities, but did ultimately play his part in the Final victory over France.
Inter are now up against Milan in Riyadh on Wednesday for the Supercoppa Italiana, the clash between the Scudetto holders and Coppa Italia winners.
“It will be a derby and a final, there is a title up for grabs. We need to rest tonight, we fly out tomorrow to Saudi Arabia and hope to bring the trophy back here for our fans.”
Milan, on the other hand, already flew to Saudi Arabia this evening straight from their 2-2 draw with Lecce.