APPIANO GENTILE – Simone Inzaghi has hailed his squad's unity as they look to continue their fine form when they travel to Atalanta after lifting the Super Cup in midweek.
The coach was speaking to journalists at a media conference on Saturday ahead of the Serie A Week 22 fixture at Gewiss Stadium, a 20:45 CET kick-off on Sunday.
Can the Super Cup victory give you a further boost for Serie A?
“It was a deserved win on Wednesday against a team who played a great game. We did really well to keep calm despite conceding the opener. The lads did exactly what I asked of them. It was amazing to win my first trophy at Inter – a wonderful experience with our fans. We know the trophy is ours now but it's in the past. We need to put all the euphoria to one side because we have a very tricky game in Bergamo.”
Have you ever looked to Gian Piero Gasperini for inspiration? Do you think the game will be won by the team that occupies the space best?
“Gasperini and Atalanta have been doing great for years. Football has changed over the years, and when and how you take up space has become increasingly important. Tomorrow will be a great match and a very physical match – much like the reverse fixture. That was a wonderful game played at an incredible tempo and I expect it to be similar tomorrow.”
Can it be considered a Scudetto clash? Will you let the lion [Alexis] Sanchez out of the cage?
“It is a Scudetto clash because Atalanta are fourth and have finished third the last three seasons. They're a constantly improving team.
"Sanchez was decisive on Wednesday and he's a fantastic player. I'm happy to coach him and all the others. The move that led to the match-winning goal started with [Joaquin] Correa and involved [Federico] Dimarco and [Matteo] Darmian before Sanchez got the decisive touch – four substitutes. I think [Arturo] Vidal was key too because he did really well when he came on. It's incredibly satisfying for a coach to see five substitutes have that sort of impact on the game.”
Sanchez is in fine fettle. Do you think this goal could be a fresh start that sees him playing an increasingly central role?
“Besides the goal, in the five games before then he'd had three very good performances both from the start and as a sub. He's a quality player and a positive lad, a world-class player who's still keen to learn. He trains with great enthusiasm and I'm happy for him. He's a great player to have.”
Would you like to coach a player like Paulo Dybala?
“I don't like talking about players of other teams. I'm proud and very happy to work with the players I've got. Every single one of them – including [Martin] Satriano, who will go out on loan to get some playing time and experience – has given me their all.”
Has something changed in the way your team approaches matches and manages in-game situations?
“I think it comes down to self-belief. We played very good football from the start of the season but certain situations and moments in matches saw us drop important points. The fact we're producing excellent performances and excellent results has reinforced our belief and we're all pulling together with everyone on board, both the starters and the subs – as we saw in the Super Cup.”
Inter and Atalanta are two very attacking teams. Do you think tomorrow's match will be decided by attack or defence?
“I expect it to be a physical match with lots of duels. There are certain opponents against whom you need to be very good at winning the duels, keeping calm and digging in together. We have to put Wednesday's game behind us and focus on this one now because it's a very important match.”