Watford have signed Argentine winger Ignacio Pussetto from Udinese for a fee reported to be in the region of £7million (€8m).

Pussetto, 24, joined the Serie A outfit from Huracan in 2018 and scored five times in 50 appearances - including one during last month's 3-1 defeat to Juventus, although he has been used predominantly as a substitute this term.

Udinese owner Giampaolo Pozzo is the father of Watford owner Gino Pozzo and transfer business between the clubs has been frequent over recent years.

The Hornets' scheduled FA Cup third-round replay at Tranmere Rovers was postponed due to heavy rainfall on Tuesday.

Recently appointed head coach Nigel Pearson has overseen a sharp upturn in form at Vicarage Road, with four wins from their past five matches lifting them out of the Premier League relegation zone.

Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri reaped the benefits of Cristiano Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain playing together - then warned it may not happen often.

The front three, who also impressed against Bayer Leverkusen in midweek when Dybala came off the bench, were finally fielded as a starting combination for the first time in Serie A.

The selection paid off, Ronaldo scoring twice in a 3-1 victory over Udinese with one of his goals being set up by Higuain. Temporarily at least, the result moved Juve back to the top of the league standings.

However, Sarri suggested it was only due to Udinese's conservative style of play that he decided to start the three forwards together, with the frontline just one possible option for the former Napoli and Chelsea coach.

"It's the first time that we've managed to really attack the game after a Champions League fixture. We played at a high level for a good 60 minutes," Sarri told Sky Sport Italia.

"At this moment, those three are in good shape and we were facing an Udinese side that doesn't really keep possession, they like to try long balls.

"I therefore thought this was a situation where we could afford to have them. As soon as Udinese started passing it around more, we struggled, so it is a valuable option for us, but one we cannot use all the time.

"Our forwards also worked hard to help the defence and press the opposition for the first 60 minutes. In attack, they did what I asked, which was quick exchanges and passing.

"If we are in a game where the opposition will have 50-50 possession, then it becomes more complicated. They were very organised and focused today.

"Against Leverkusen, I saw they were getting tired and struggling to keep up the intensity, so I introduced the trident for that reason. Udinese play in a different way, they are not so focused on passing."

Ronaldo, meanwhile, believes Juventus have found a good way of incorporating all three forwards into the line-up.

"The most important thing was to win, although we could've had more goals," Ronaldo told Sky Sport Italia.

"I think this is a good way of playing and it's important we must play with confidence. It's not about individual performances, but how we work as a collective."

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Juventus returned to winning ways in Serie A, easing to a 3-1 triumph over struggling Udinese on Sunday.

Maurizio Sarri finally fielded Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain together from the start – and the trio were influential in helping the reigning champions record a first victory in three league outings.

The result was a formality by half-time at Allianz Stadium, Ronaldo getting a brace as Udinese struggled to cope with a pumped-up home team eager to bounce back from a 3-1 loss away to Lazio the previous weekend.

The Portugal international opened the scoring in the ninth minute, firing home a loose ball with an instinctive first-time effort, while it was Higuain's well-weighted throughball that set up for a second, finished with his left foot.

Leonardo Bonucci added a third before the interval, flicking in a header at a corner from centre-back partner Merih Demiral via a deflection off the underside of the crossbar, allowing Juve to ease up in the second half.

As the tempo dropped, the hosts relied on the evergreen Gianluigi Buffon - making his 478th Serie A appearance in place of the injured Wojciech Szczesny, drawing him level with Alessandro Del Piero's club record in the competition – to keep Udinese at bay.

The veteran goalkeeper - guilty of a costly error in the 2-2 draw against Sassuolo earlier in December - twice denied the lively Kevin Lasagna, while he also turned away a fierce drive from Seko Fofana.

However, there was little Buffon could do to stop Ignacio Pussetto getting a consolation goal in stoppage time, preventing the former Italy international recording a clean sheet.

Ronaldo had been denied a hat-trick by the post in the closing minutes but Juve coasted to a result that sends them above Inter, although the Nerazzurri can reclaim top spot when they travel to Fiorentina in Sunday's late kick-off.

What does it mean? Sarri sees forwards combine

Having worked so well in the second half of the 2-0 Champions League victory over Bayer Leverkusen in midweek, Dybala, Higuain and Ronaldo had the chance to show they can function from the outset. They did just that, combining impressively on a number of occasions. 

So, was Sarri's starting XI a one-off, or a sign of things to come? This was, admittedly, the ideal game to experiment in; Juventus have won more matches against Udinese than any other Serie A opponent. It will be fascinating to see if they are all selected again for trickier tests in the future.

Ronaldo still going strong

The forward - who turns 35 in February - may not quite have the blistering pace that was once such a trademark, but he remains a ruthless finisher. His goals demonstrated just how dangerous he is when presented with a sight of the target.

Lasagna goes cold on big stage

The Italy international was starved of service in an opening half that was one-way traffic towards the Udinese goal. In the second, however, he failed to capitalise on the opportunities that came his way, including twice allowing recovering defenders to make crucial blocks when seemingly in the clear.

What's next?

Juventus go up against Claudio Ranieri's Sampdoria on Wednesday in their final league outing before the mid-season break in Italy. Udinese, meanwhile, round out 2019 with a home game against Cagliari next Saturday.

Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny will miss the Serie A clash with Udinese after feeling discomfort in his right shoulder ahead of Sunday's game.

In a statement on social media, Juve said Szczesny reported the problem on the morning of the match and will be rested as a precaution.

Gianluigi Buffon looks set to start in goal at Allianz Stadium after completing 90 minutes in the midweek Champions League win over Bayer Leverkusen.

The 41-year-old kept a clean sheet in Germany but made a glaring error in his last Serie A appearance, the 2-2 draw against Sassuolo on December 1.

Mattia Perin has been added to the matchday squad as Maurizio Sarri's men aim to overtake leaders Inter, who visit Fiorentina later on Sunday.

Maurizio Sarri has challenged his Juventus side to fight against the Champions League hangovers that threaten to derail their bid for a ninth consecutive Serie A title.

Juve have dropped points in four of their 15 league games this season, two of which came immediately after midweek Champions League fixtures.

They drew 1-1 with Lecce in October following a win over Lokomotiv Moscow and were held to a shock 2-2 home draw by Sassuolo this month after beating Atletico Madrid, before losing 3-1 to Lazio a week later.

Those results have left them trailing leaders Inter by two points and Sarri has demanded they do not suffer a similar fate against Udinese on Sunday after the 2-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen that concluded their Group D campaign in midweek.

"The risks of dropping the intensity levels and dropping points after Champions League games is visible in the statistics," he told a media conference. "You can't argue when it happens two or three times.

"We've got to find out why it keeps happening and fix it. There are differences playing in Serie A to the Champions League, but it's not true to say the European opponents are more open. Bayer Leverkusen focus mainly on possession, while Lokomotiv Moscow tend to clam up.

"Perhaps subconsciously our minds can drift to other targets after so many Scudetto titles in a row, but that is something we must absolutely fight against. If we are to be competitive in the Champions League, we need to be competitive in Italy, too."

Udinese are led by caretaker coach Luca Gotti, who was part of Sarri's staff at Chelsea last season.

They have failed to win any of their past four Serie A games, but Sarri is expecting a tough match at the Allianz Stadium.

"Gotti is very talented," he said. "Udinese can transform any long ball into a scoring opportunity, so we've got to be wary of that.

"They are a dangerous team that knows how to close down well and make the game tight. They have strikers who work well and can be dangerous in different circumstances."

Midfielders Adrien Rabiot and Emre Can have struggled for game time this season, with the pair starting only five times between them in Serie A, while Can was omitted from the Champions League squad for the group stage.

Sarri says both can expect to feature against Udinese and has suggested Rabiot – a free transfer following his departure from Paris Saint-Germain during the off-season – has not yet adjusted to life at the club.

"He has struggled to settle into our football, but that is normal," he explained. "He also came off an injury and struggled more in the first half in Germany [against Leverkusen], but he came out towards the end. He is also quite introverted, which doesn't help him to settle.

"Can was immensely disappointed [at being left out of the Champions League squad]. Either Can or Rabiot will certainly play and both of them may well be on the pitch for a portion of the game."

Murmurs about Pep Guardiola's potential departure from Manchester City are not going away.

Recent reports have suggested the successful Catalan could look to leave the Etihad Stadium at the end of the season.

It now appears Guardiola has the power to make that happen.

 

TOP STORY – GUARDIOLA'S ESCAPE ROUTE

An exit clause in the contract Guardiola signed last year gives the two-time Premier League winner the chance to leave City at the conclusion of the campaign, reports the Daily Mail.

Guardiola's deal, which he renewed in May 2018, runs through to 2021, but it seems he will have a decision to make when the club's title defence comes to a close.

City have formulated contingency plans, according to the report, and are "known to be admirers" of former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino.

Guardiola, 48, has been linked with a return to Bayern Munich but last month said he was "open" to signing another contract extension with City.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United missed out on Liverpool-bound Takumi Minamino because the Old Trafford club were unaware of a £7.25million exit clause in the winger's Salzburg contract, says the Mirror.

- Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund want to keep Jadon Sancho in January but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's United are confident of pushing through a transfer for the England international, claims the Mirror.

- Inter are monitoring Argentine attacking midfielder Rodrigo De Paul but are not prepared to meet Udinese's €35m asking price, according to CalcioMercato.

- Carlo Ancelotti is set to fly to London for talks with Everton as the managerless Merseysiders look to beat Arsenal to the ex-Napoli boss, says the Sun.

- Ivan Rakitic appears set to stay at Barcelona after all. The midfielder wants to continue at Camp Nou after breaking back into the starting XI over the past four matches, reports Marca.

Inter have a fight on their hands to retain the services of star forward Lautaro Martinez.

Martinez has been heavily linked to LaLiga champions Barcelona as they search for Luis Suarez's long-term replacement.

But Manchester City and United are both reportedly interested in the Argentina international.

 

TOP STORY – CITY & UNITED TARGET MARTINEZ

Manchester City and Premier League neighbours United want to sign Inter star Martinez, according to The Mirror.

Martinez – who is only in his second season in Milan after joining from Racing Club in 2018 – has flourished this term with eight goals across all competitions for Antonio Conte's Inter.

LaLiga champions Barcelona have been linked, while the two Manchester clubs are also reportedly targeting the 22-year-old forward.

 

ROUND-UP

- Unhappy at Barcelona, Ivan Rakitic could remain in LaLiga. The Croatia international has attracted interest from the likes of Inter, United and Paris Saint-Germain in his pursuit of more game time. However, Movistar+ claims Atletico Madrid are willing to meet Barca's €40million valuation of Rakitic. Marca adds that Atletico do not plan to replace Diego Costa due to salary constraints.

- The Mirror says Arsenal scouted Leicester City defender Caglar Soyuncu during Turkey's Euro 2020 qualifier against Iceland on Thursday. Soyuncu moved to Leicester from Freiburg in 2018 and the 23-year-old has stepped up to fill the void left by Harry Maguire, who joined United in a world-record deal.

- Zlatan Ibrahimovic out and Edinson Cavani in for LA Galaxy? According to Gianluca Di Marzio, MLS side the Galaxy are targeting Paris Saint-Germain's Cavani following Ibrahimovic's exit. The Uruguay forward is out of contract at the end of the season and has been linked to David Beckham's Inter Miami franchise, who will open their inaugural season against the Galaxy next year.

Inter will need to fork out €30m if they want to sign Udinese's Rodrigo de Paul in January, reports Calciomercato. The Express also reports that Inter are ready to offer out-of-favour Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud an 18-month contract. Conte is determined to add depth up front, with Martinez and Romelu Lukaku leading the way in the absence of injured loanee Alexis Sanchez.

- Corriere dello Sport claims Roma have joined the chase for Everton forward Moise Kean. The 19-year-old has struggled since moving to the Premier League from Juventus, and the likes of Sampdoria and AC Milan are lining up to bring the teenager back to Serie A on loan.

Udinese have sacked head coach Igor Tudor following heavy defeats to Atalanta and Roma.

Tudor oversaw a 7-1 loss in Bergamo last Sunday, followed by a 4-0 defeat at home to Roma on Wednesday. The results have left Udinese just three points clear of the relegation zone in Serie A.

Luca Gotti was placed in charge temporarily, but former Italy Under-21 coach Luigi Di Biagio and ex-AC Milan boss Gennaro Gattuso are the frontrunners to take over on a permanent basis.

"It is a very sad day. The days of the games with Atalanta and Roma were very sad, but this day is even more sad because we had to take the measure to release Tudor," said technical director Pierpaolo Marino to Udinese TV.

"It is very painful but necessary to make a change. Tudor has paid [with his job], but he is not solely responsible for this situation.

"We thank Tudor but we must turn the page and now it is on the team to take responsibility."

Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham may have been humiliated 7-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League, but he is a target for the German giants.

With Niko Kovac overseeing an inconsistent start to the season in Munich, Bayern are reportedly willing to move on from the former Eintracht Frankfurt boss.

That could open the door for Pochettino, whose Tottenham have struggled to reach the heights of last season following their memorable run to the Champions League final.

 

TOP STORY – BAYERN CONSIDER POCH

Bayern Munich are considering Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino as a replacement for Niko Kovac, according to Sport1.

Kovac has found himself under increasing criticism following Bayern's inconsistent start to the season.

Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag – who previously worked with Bayern's reserve team – has also been linked, but sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic has reportedly identified Pochettino as the man to replace Kovac should he depart.

 

ROUND-UP

- According to Mundo Deportivo, Atletico Madrid are eyeing Napoli's Faouzi Ghoulam. The left-back is out of favour and set to leave the Serie A outfit in January.

- Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain are keen to sign Borussia Dortmund's Lukasz Piszczek and Juventus midfielder Emre Can, claims Soccerlink. Piszczek's contract expires at the end of the season, while Can is reportedly eager to leave after being left out of Juve's Champions League squad.

- Sport Bild says Liverpool have joined the race to sign Valencia sensation Ferran Torres. The 19-year-old winger has attracted interest from Dortmund and Barcelona.

Arkadiusz Milik has agreed a contract extension with Napoli, reports Calciomercato. The Poland international's current deal runs out in 2021.

- Former AC Milan boss Gennaro Gattuso is favourite to take charge of Udinese. It comes as Sky Sport Italia, Tuttomercatoweb and La Gazzetta dello Sport claim Igor Tudor's position is being considered after consecutive 7-1 and 4-0 routs in Serie A.

Dortmund have set their sights on Hertha Berlin's Javairo Dilrosun, according to Bild. As the German side reportedly prepare for life without Jadon Sancho amid ongoing links to Manchester United, former Manchester City youth-team player Dilrosun is on their radar.

Atalanta defeated Udinese 7-1 on Sunday to equal their biggest ever Serie A victory and move within three points of champions and leaders Juventus.

Gian Piero Gasperini's side collapsed from 3-0 up at Lazio last week, missing the chance to briefly top the table, and then let an early lead slip in a humbling Champions League defeat to Manchester City.

But it was Atalanta's turn to come from behind after Stefano Okaka's 11th-minute opener.

Luis Muriel netted a hat-trick to become just the second player to score at least eight times in the first nine matches of a Serie A season for Atalanta.

Josip Ilicic struck twice in a first half in which Nicholas Opoku was sent off for Udinese, while Mario Pasalic and 17-year-old debutant Amad Traore were also on target.

The Bergamo outfit matched the six-goal margin of victory from their previous record top-flight win - a 7-1 triumph over Triestina in June 1952 - and have now scored 28 goals in the league, the most at this stage of a season since AC Milan in 1992-93.

Martin Odegaard is enjoying a stellar season at Real Sociedad.

On loan from Real Madrid, Odegaard's starring performances are attracting interest from across Europe.

A Norwegian connection at Manchester United could see Odegaard move to Old Trafford.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED WANT ODEGAARD

Manchester United have joined the race to sign in-form Real Madrid midfielder Martin Odegaard, according to The Sun.

Odegaard is currently on loan at LaLiga side Real Sociedad, where the 20-year-old has scored two goals and supplied two assists this term.

The Norway international, who joined Madrid from Stromsgodset in 2015 but only has two appearances to his name for the Spanish giants, has also been linked to Premier League rivals Manchester CityLiverpool and Arsenal.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Daily Mail reports manager Mauricio Pochettino wants to leave struggling Tottenham. It comes after Spurs' season hit a new low following Tuesday's embarrassing 7-2 Champions League loss to Bayern Munich. Former Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has been linked to the London club.

- As doubts grow over Pochettino, The Sun claims ex-Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri will wait until the end of the season before taking a Premier League job. Allegri, who left Serie A champions Juventus at the end of 2018-19, has emerged as a possible target for Tottenham and United.

Arsenal have the chance to sign RB Leipzig centre-back Dayot Upamecano for £53million (€59.4m) at the end of the season, claims L'Equipe. The Gunners were heavily linked to the 20-year-old during the recent transfer window and they could return for the defender, whose release clause is reportedly set to drop.

- Bayern Munich are interested in Birmingham teenager Jude Bellingham, says The Sun. The 16-year-old has impressed in the Championship this season with two goals in six matches. Bundesliga champions Bayern have an eye on English talent following their unsuccessful pursuit of Chelsea star Callum Hudson-Odoi.

- Sport Bild claims Bayern will "resume talks with Leroy Sane's management in the coming weeks". The Manchester City star was targeted by the German giants before suffering a serious ligament injury in the Community Shield.

- According to Calciomercato, Juventus are hoping to agree a new deal with midfielder Blaise Matuidi. The Frenchman, who was linked with a move away before the transfer window closed, is out of contract at the end of the season. Meanwhile, the Daily Mail reports Juve boss Maurizio Sarri is keen on reuniting with Chelsea star N'Golo Kante.

Inter are set to launch a shock January move for Burnley forward Jay Rodriguez, says Calciomercato. Antonio Conte's list of attacking options to add to Romelu Lukaku, Lautaro Martinez and Alexis Sanchez reportedly includes Chelsea's Olivier Giroud, Real Madrid striker Luka Jovic, Udinese's Kevin Lasagna and Andrea Petagna of SPAL.

Erling Haaland made a stunning start to his Champions League career on Tuesday, becoming the eighth player to net a hat-trick on their debut in Europe's elite competition.

The 19-year-old netted all three of his goals in the first half as Salzburg crushed Genk 6-2, with Haaland the third youngest player to score a treble in the Champions League.

His first goal arrived in just the second minute, as he found the bottom-right corner in confident fashion from just inside the area, Haaland then doubled the tally just past the half-hour mark when finishing off a counter.

He completed the hat-trick – remarkably his fourth of the season across all competitions – just before the interval, tucking in from close range.

As impressive as his debut Champions League hat-trick was, he was not the first to accomplish the feat. Below, we look at those who came before.

Yacine Brahimi (Porto) v BATE – September 2014

Tricky winger Brahimi made an explosive entrance to Champions League football five years ago. He punished a goalkeeper error to open his account from a tight angle, before then adding a glorious solo effort and a pinpoint free-kick.

Grafite (Wolfsburg) v CSKA Moscow – September 2009

Brazilian striker Grafite pencilled himself into the history books in 2009 with a treble against CSKA Moscow. The powerful forward finished off a counter for his first, then converting a penalty. He rounded things off late on in the 3-1 win by converting a Marcel Schaefer cross.

Vincenzo Iaquinta (Udinese) v Panathinaikos – September 2005

Udinese made an emphatic start to their first Champions League campaign in 2005, dispatching Panathinaikos 3-0. Iaquinta was vital to that, opening the scoring with a header after wasting a couple of earlier chances. He made it 2-0 in the second half when racing on to Antonio Di Natale's pass and finishing, wrapping up the win with a fierce drive.

Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) v Fenerbahce – September 2004

After joining United for a reported £24million on the back of an impressive Euro 2004, Rooney truly announced himself with a marvellous treble against Fenerbahce on his Old Trafford debut. The striker got his first 17 minutes in, emphatically converting after a Ruud van Nistelrooy pass. A fine long-range effort into the bottom-left corner followed and he then blasted home a free-kick.

Yakubu (Maccabi Haifa) v Olympiakos – September 2002

Only 19 at the time, Yakubu ran Olympiakos ragged in 2002. Having missed a 5-2 defeat to Man United through suspension, Yakubu made up for lost time on matchday two, opening the scoring with a penalty. He doubled the lead against the run of play with a smart finish after holding off a defender and later added the third after getting in behind the visitors' defence.

Tino Asprilla (Newcastle United) v Barcelona– September 1997

A vibrant, colourful character, Colombian forward Asprilla produced a performance to match against Barcelona in a 3-2 win. He opened his account with a penalty, before twice nodding in towering headers from right-wing crosses, securing a famous result for the Magpies.

Marco van Basten (AC Milan) v Goteborg – November 1992

Synonymous with the spectacular, Van Basten's first goal in the revamped Champions League – having been the European Cup before the 1992-93 season – was a lovely one, finding the top-left corner despite being off-balance. A penalty followed and then came an outrageous overhead kick from the edge of the box. The Dutchman got a fourth by rounding the goalkeeper, sealing an easy win.

Antonio Conte has called on Inter to be more clinical after they only managed a 1-0 victory over 10-man Udinese on Saturday.

Inter moved to the top of Serie A, two points clear of Juventus, as their third win in as many matches was secured by Stefano Sensi's first-half header.

Sensi's goal followed Rodrigo De Paul being shown a red card, after referee Maurizio Mariani reviewed footage of him striking Antonio Candreva on the head away from the ball.

Romelu Lukaku failed to have a single shot at goal, while Alexis Sanchez was brought on for his debut with just 10 minutes remaining as the Nerazzurri scraped through.

"I congratulated the lads because it was a very difficult match against a strong team and these three points are important. We deserved them but must also recognise Udinese did well to stay in the game until the end," Conte told DAZN.

"We should've been more clinical and finished it off earlier, but instead we were always just hanging on.

"We know we have to fight. I read too much rubbish in the papers. We must go our own way without thinking about anything or anyone else. The truth is nothing is easy and we will never take anything for granted.

"I had warned the players that Udinese would take a very defensive approach and we had to be careful on counter-attacks. We've got to start moves from the back and we achieved that against a team that will cause problems for many opponents this season.

"We've got a long road ahead of us, we have a lot of work to do and won't get caught up in the euphoria, we are laying the groundwork. We want to be a tough team."

Stefano Sensi's goal was the difference as Inter retained their 100 per cent record in Serie A by comfortably beating 10-man Udinese 1-0 on Alexis Sanchez's debut at San Siro.

A nine-minute spell before half-time proved decisive as Rodrigo de Paul was shown a red card for striking Antonio Candreva on the head following the intervention of VAR and Sensi nodded Inter ahead.

Romelu Lukaku endured a disappointing outing and made way for Lautaro Martinez in the 65th minute, before Sanchez replaced Matteo Politano to make his first appearance for the Nerazzurri against one of the forward's former clubs.

While Inter were unable add to their tally, they had already done enough to pick up a third straight win under Antonio Conte and move two points clear of Juventus at the top of the table.

Politano went close to putting Inter ahead in the fourth minute when his low drive from 25 yards struck the outside of the post.

Sensi saw a fine volley from the edge of the box pushed aside by Udinese goalkeeper Juan Musso, before Walace was kept out by Samir Handanovic at the other end.

Udinese were reduced to 10 men after 35 minutes when De Paul was shown a red card after referee Maurizio Mariani reviewed footage of his retaliation to Candreva appearing to touch his face.

Inter took advantage a minute before half-time, Sensi getting across Rodrigo Becao and heading a fine delivery from Diego Godin – making his first start since joining from Atletico Madrid – in off the underside of the crossbar.

Kevin Lasagna overpowered Godin but was thwarted by Handanovic, before Musso denied Politano and Roberto Gagliardini – a half-time replacement for Nicolo Barella – before the hour mark.

After Musso kept out a Sensi free-kick, an awkward fall for Politano paved the way for Sanchez to enter the fray to a great ovation with 10 minutes remaining.

Sanchez went close to marking his debut with a goal when Candreva's square pass fell to him in the six-yard box, but a scrambling Musso kept him at bay and Inter coasted to the final whistle.
 

What does it mean? Advantage Inter

With Juventus held to a 0-0 draw at Fiorentina earlier on Saturday, Inter opened up a gap over the reigning champions at the top of the table.

There is still a long way to go, but they are the only team to possess a 100 per cent record after playing three matches, though Torino could join them by beating Lecce on Monday.

Sensational Sensi

Lukaku and Sanchez were the headline arrivals at San Siro this season but Sensi continued to show he is a valuable addition. The midfielder, on loan from Sassuolo, provided great support to the strikers and took his goal brilliantly.

Lukaku off the boil

After scoring in each of his first two matches and finding the net for Belgium during the international break, Lukaku failed to get into the action in Milan. He had no shots, created no chances and had a passing accuracy of 61.1 per cent in a disappointing outing.

What's next?

Inter will be in Champions League action at home to Slavia Prague on Tuesday, while Udinese are not in action until the visit of Brescia next Saturday.

Antonio Conte has pledged Inter will help Alexis Sanchez recapture his best form.

Sanchez has joined the Nerazzurri on loan after losing his way at Manchester United, where he scored three goals in 32 Premier League appearances.

The Chile forward, described by former United boss Jose Mourinho as a "sad man" this week, is in line to make his Inter debut in Saturday's Serie A game at home to Udinese with Conte expectant over the 30-year-old.

"Sanchez is a strong player, he has shown in the past the quality that he possesses," Conte told reporters.

"We need to help him recapture the form that he lost at Manchester United. He has to adapt to our game and that is what he is doing."

Sanchez will at least have a familiar face at Inter in the form of another ex-United player, striker Romelu Lukaku.

"He has entered the world of Inter with great humility and has shown a real willingness," Conte said of Belgium international Lukaku. "The rest of the group understood that immediately and have welcomed him in the best possible way.

"He has great qualities as a human and is a true team player. His fitness has improved. We hope he scores as many goals as possible for the team – he has always scored goals."

Inter have two wins from two since Conte arrived at San Siro, but the former Chelsea, Juventus and Italy coach is judging progress by other metrics.

"An important foundation is being built irrespective of results," Conte added. "Enthusiasm shouldn't depend on the results we achieve but the way we obtain them. It should depend on what the team manage to transmit to the fans.

"With today's Inter, you can see that there's a team and club with clear ideas. We're trying to work to find a clearly defined tactical identity on a daily basis: when those who have played less up to this point come into the team, they’ll know exactly what they have to do.

"We are the team that have undergone the most change. It is inevitable that there will be a period of adjustment, but we want to turn the question marks around us into exclamation marks."

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