According to Arturo Vidal, Inter proved they have what it takes to sustain a severe title challenge this season by beating reigning champions Juventus 2-0.
On Sunday, Vidal opened the scoring against his former club at San Siro, heading home a cross from Nicolo Barella for the first time since his goal clinched the Scudetto for Juve in May 2015, to find the net in Serie A.
He became the first ex-Juve player to score in the Derby d’Italia for Inter since Christian Vieri in 2004 and the eighth player to score in the fixture for both sides.
Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku missed chances to add to Inter’s tally, but with an emphatic finish in the 52nd minute, Barella made no mistake.
Consequently, the Nerazzurri claimed their first league win against Juve in September 2016 and their first since April 2010 with a clean sheet.
With Serie A leaders Milan on 40 points, Antonio Conte’s side moved level and opened up a seven-point lead over the reigning champions.
By beating Cagliari in their game at Inter on Monday, Milan can restore their three-point lead, but Vidal doesn’t believe Conte’s men are going to fall apart.
“It’s important for me and the team. It was a very difficult game against the best team in Italy,” Vidal told Sky Sport Italia. I’m very pleased to have scored my first goal for Inter. I think we have proven that we are up to the challenge of competing for the Scudetto.
This gives us the courage to keep going, to believe that we can win the Scudetto, as in the past nine years, we have beaten the strongest team. We believe we can go the whole way.
Vidal was seen kissing the Juve badge on Giorgio Chiellini’s training top before kick-off while the pair shared a hug. In a subdued fashion, he then celebrated his goal.
To begin their continuing era of domination, Conte led Juve to three straight Serie A titles and finally got his first league victory over them at the fourth attempt.
Conte also thinks the Bianconeri are the team to beat in the race for the championship, despite Inter coming out on top and Juve being seven points adrift.
“To beat a team like Juventus, which for all the Italian clubs are the reference point, we have to put in a great performance. We did that,” said Conte.
We planned well and it’s rewarding to see that we were right about the stuff we thought Juventus would hurt. The lads perfectly followed the plan and I’m very pleased with them because these are games that have to give you self-belief, let you realize that you’re on the right path.