Nov 7th 2021

The Nerazzurri boss speaks ahead of the Milan derby

APPIANO GENTILE – Simone Inzaghi explained what Inter will need to do to emerge victorious from the Milan derby when he sat down with journalists on Saturday.

Read on to find out what the boss had to say at his pre-match press conference ahead of Sunday's 20:45 CET kick-off.

This is the last match before the international break. What sort of game are you expecting?

“It's going to be very intense. We know what the derby is all about. We know how important it is for our fans and for the club and we want to wrap up this run of seven matches on a high.”

Is there an 'Inzaghi method' for this sort of game?

“I've been lucky enough to play lots of matches like this, both as a player and as a coach. It's the sort of match that prepares itself. It's come after the Champions League and we've had two or three days to get ready for it but I've seen the right focus and conviction in the players' eyes. We're doing really well in the Champions League and we've got 24 points from 11 league games. Tomorrow we're going to need a massive performance. It would be a further boost for our confidence too.”

Where does the team need to improve in these games?

“We've done well in the three six-pointers we've played so far – starting with Juventus. Against Atalanta we missed the decisive penalty and against Lazio we were excellent for 70 minutes until the penalty. Obviously we would have liked to win those games and tomorrow we have a great opportunity to end this seven-match run on a positive note. It began with that defeat in Rome but the four wins and a draw since then have boosted our belief. Now we need another result tomorrow.”

Do you feel something changed mentally after the defeat to Lazio?

“We've stuck to our principles in the last few games, playing good football and creating lots of chances, and we've obviously been doing better defensively by working more as a team. The squad has always been compact and since the Juventus match we've conceded very few chances.”

How is this derby different to the ones you've played before?

“It's my first Milan derby and I can't wait. The build-up has been different because we travelled back from a European game on Thursday but the Inter fans have been waiting for this. It's highly anticipated and our fans are always there behind us. Tomorrow they'll be a big help again when we all need to dig in together.”

Could this be Hakan Calhanoglu's big game?

“We have another two training sessions but I've seen some great things from our midfielders. Calhanoglu was superb against Udinese. [Arturo] Vidal was pivotal in the Champions League. [Roberto] Gagliardini was one of our best players against Empoli and Lazio. [Matias] Vecino had a minor problem which he's over now and he always impresses in training. [Stefano] Sensi is close to returning. I'm lucky to have a great squad to work with and there's competition for every position. I have an idea of the team I'll pick but I need to see how training goes.”

Is there more riding on this match for Inter than AC Milan? 

“You can't ignore the league table but it means nothing when it comes to the derby. It's about who runs harder, who wants it more, who defends and attacks better while respecting the opposition.” 

Tomorrow will see the league's best attack take on the league's second best defence. What do you fear most about AC Milan?

“They score a lot, don't concede many and have an excellent coach, who I know very well. We're going to need to be very careful. That said, we're in great form ourselves and we have the most prolific attack so we have every chance of doing well tomorrow.”

How important is it to have a club that solves situations in good time? And how important is it for Marcelo Brozovic to sign a new deal?

“I'm lucky in that the club owners and management are always there for me offering their support. We knew we'd have to sell some big names last summer but once we'd done that the club backed me and we made some great signings. Now these contract renewals are further proof of the club''s long-term plans and ambition. Lautaro [Martinez] and [Nicolo] Barella signing new contracts is brilliant news. There are other players who will discuss their situation but I'm not concerned. I focus on the football. The management team are always there with me alongside the team.”

Since Antonio Conte's appointment as head coach of Tottenham, the British media have been linking various Inter players with a move there. What do you think about that?

“I'm not thinking about it. We have this match and another nine to play before the Christmas break so it's way too early to be thinking about January. We want to produce a big derby performance tomorrow, then we have the international break, followed by another nine very important games before Christmas.”

Will Inter still be in with a shout for the title even if you don't win tomorrow?

“We've only played 11 games. We're seven points behind and we hope to reduce that gap tomorrow, but there are 27 matches left to play – that's a lot of points. Tomorrow is important for the league table and for the players' self-belief.”

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COMO, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 28: Robin Gosens of FC Internazionale gesture during the FC Internazionale training session at the club's training ground Suning Training Center at Appiano Gentile on September 28, 2022 in Como, Italy. (Photo by Mattia Ozbot - Inter/Inter via Getty Images)


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