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The renaissance continues at Inter as Ivan Perisic hat-trick sends them top of Serie A

Two big reasons for the rebirth are coach Luciano Spalletti and striker Mauro Icardi.

Image: Antonio Calanni

IT SEEMED THAT Inter Milan had reached the nadir last term.

Just before the season started, Roberto Mancini walked away and was replaced by Frank de Boer. But, he infamously lasted just 85 days before Stefano Pioli was parachuted in. However, he was sacked before the end of the campaign as the club finished in seventh and missed out on European qualification.

There were plenty of eyebrows raised when Luciano Spalletti was lured to the club in the summer. Despite pushing Roma to second place in 2016/17, detractors pointed to his lack of silverware and, oddly given his relative success in the capital (two-time Coppa Italia winner and Serie A Coach of the Year), the potential of him crumbling in a high-pressure environment.

But, he’s galvanised the side and they remain unbeaten since his arrival.

On Sunday, they thumped five past Chievo to take full advantage of Napoli’s loss to Juventus on Friday and move to the summit of the table for the first time since January 2016.

Ivan Perisic, a big summer transfer target for Jose Mourinho and Manchester United, hit a hat-trick while Milan Skriniar also found the net.

Inevitably, captain Mauro Icardi scored too – his 16th in the league this season – ensuring the Argentine slotted into the top-ten of all-time Inter goalscorers.

Remarkably, he’s managed 94 goals in all competitions for the club since arriving there in 2013. Last season he finished up on 24 in the top-flight – his best ever tally – but going by his current form, he’ll surpass it this term.

Icardi is still just 24.

Sunday’s 5-0 victory means Inter go a point clear of second-placed Napoli while Juventus are right on their shoulders.

It’s an intriguing title race with Roma in fourth and just five points from the top.

And next week, Inter head to Turin to take on Juventus in a crucial battle.

The42 has just published its first book, Behind The Lines, a collection of some of the year’s best sports stories. Pick up your copy in Eason’s, or order it here today (€10):

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About the author:

Eoin O'Callaghan

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