Simone Inzaghi saw an ‘extraordinary first half’ performance from his Inter team in their 2-0 Champions League win over city rivals Milan. It was an end-to-end semi-final first leg of the Milan derby which lived up to the billing, as Inter took an early first half lead through Edin Dzeko before Henrikh Mkhitaryan added to the tally. In his post-match presser, Inzaghi pointed to the importance of having a squad of experienced players who were all ready to work and having depth on the bench that he could turn to:
A perfect approach, tight first half result. Then Milan came back.
“You said it perfectly, an extraordinary first half with a tight result, considering the game. The boys approached the match very well, then in the second half we covered the field well, apart from in the circumstance of Tonali hitting the post. The changes gave us a great help, De Vrij was excellent tonight and in Rome: he almost never makes a mistake in a game. But I can say that about everyone, let’s move forward with this spirit. The night satisfies us, but there is a piece missing for a dream we have believed in since August.”
The second half of the derby is five days away: how will you prepare for it?
“Fortunately we had a similar game with Benfica. This is a derby, even more heartfelt. The boys know how we did against Benfica, we must not think about managing the game. A European ride like this is thanks to everyone, from the club to the kids to the fans. The last step is missing.”
You are preparing the game now, talking about the subs. I’m talking to you about Mkhitaryan and Dzeko, two outliers.
“They played a great game. I talked about the subs because having played football I know that it is more difficult to come in as the game is going on. Dzeko and Mikhitaryan were splendid as were the other 14. I had others on the bench who wanted to come in, maybe they were not happy, but this is the right spirit. The last step is missing, but the team is mature.”
What is the main risk? Does this match erase that disappointment there was about last year’s derby?
“Well, there are still six days to go, we know we have to take one small step more. Tonight is a great night experienced with our fans who were outnumbered but accompanied us from first to 90th minute. Leao? He’s a great player, we’ve played so many derbies against him: he won’t disrupt our game plan.”
What did you tell the team before entering the pitch? How is Gosens doing?
“Gosens is a warrior, an amazing guy. He wanted to be there at all costs, the staff did an extraordinary job to make him available. I will evaluate him in these days. The injury is important, for Sassuolo I will decide. With the guys we were together from noon until 7 p.m. tonight, we tried to prepare things in the best way. The last step is missing.”
Yesterday’s training was conducted in a light-hearted atmosphere
“I can’t tell you, we were smiling yesterday, maybe a little less before Benfica. In these two and a half days I had seen the players very relaxed, sometimes these are positive signs, sometimes not. I am happy with the match, in six days there will be an importantiss match.”
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