(Reuters) – Talking points from the Serie A weekend:
EVERGREEN HANDANOVIC THE UNSUNG HERO
There were plenty of standout performances as Inter Milan went four points clear at the top of the Serie A standings following their 3-0 win over rivals AC Milan on Sunday.
Strike duo Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez again produced the goods at the San Siro, Nicolo Barella put in another fine performance in midfield, while Achraf Hakimi showed why he is regarded as one of the best full backs in Europe.
But one player who was just as pivotal as anyone, and rarely gets the credit he deserves, was an evergreen Samir Handanovic.
The 36-year-old goalkeeper has been superb all season, with three outstanding saves at the start of the second half on Sunday, when the scoreline was 1-0, crucial to securing his side all three points.
“After the break we had so many chances and I haven’t seen Handanovic make so many good saves like that in a while,” Milan coach Stefano Pioli told DAZN after the match.
RADIO SILENCE FROM GATTUSO
All continues to be not well at Napoli.
Last weekend’s hard-fought victory over Juventus showed the club was united behind under-pressure manager Gennaro Gattuso, with the typically fiery Napoli boss defiant, adamant his players backed him after the match.
But after a disappointing defeat at Atalanta on Sunday, one that left Napoli in seventh in the standings, the reaction from Gattuso and Napoli was one of silence.
The club announced they would not be speaking to the media after the match, and will not be for the foreseeable future.
It is not the first time they have taken such a step, but the move has only intensified speculation in the Italian press that Gattuso’s days are numbered.
LAZIO QUIETLY SNEAKING UP ON REST
Despite emerging from their Champions League group unbeaten, Lazio’s early season domestic form was worrying.
In early January, Simone Inzaghi’s side were languishing in ninth, six points off the top four places.
But a seventh win in their last eight league games against Sampdoria on Sunday moved Lazio level on points with fourth-placed Atalanta and one behind AS Roma in third.
The run has been well-timed, too, with the Bayern Munich up next in the Champions League last-16 this week.
(Reporting by Peter Hall; Editing by Christian Radnedge)