Inzaghi: "Plenty of running, determination and aggression needed"
Team— Mar 18th 2023
The Coach's thoughts ahead of Sunday evening's showdown at San Siro
At 20:45 CET on Sunday, Inter will play their 27th fixture of the Serie A season against Juventus at San Siro. This is what Coach Simone Inzaghi had to say on the eve of the match:
It's Juventus at San Siro tomorrow. How are the team doing heading into the game? "We know what this game represents for the Club, for ourselves and for the fans. Two teams that are doing well will be facing each other, with both having progressed to the next round in Europe. It'll be a game full of running, aggression and determination; these matches are always like this."
As you prepare for the match, what is your assessment of Juventus? "They're a great and complete side made up of many strong players. We have a lot of respect for them. We've met them in finals, and there are also the Coppa Italia games coming up. We know how important mental preparation is for these matches."
How much do you hope that the enthusiasm after the Porto game can help you tomorrow. April will be very intense, but will this spur you on or provide a problem? "We're really proud to have made it through, and tomorrow's game is the final match of an intense period. There's fatigue and we have injuries, but we mustn't look back. Instead, we must only focus on the match tomorrow. It's a very important game in terms of our league campaign. We know that we currently have 16 games left this season, and we hope that we'll have to play a few more. I'll need everyone, and I hope to have increasingly more players at my disposal."
Are you more concerned about absences in defence or having similar difficulties to those Inter have experienced before after big matches? "It's true that we've dropped off after big matches in the past. We've had two and a half days to prepare for the game and know that, out of all the teams in the running for the Champions League, we'll be the busiest in April. It's an aspect we need to work on and improve. Skriniar, Gosens and Bastoni won't be available due to injury, and we'll have to assess a few players today. However, I'm confident because we're aware of the importance of the match we'll be involved in."
Are you dreaming of reaching the Champions League final? "It's what we all want, but, as the coach, I'm only thinking about Juventus right now. We're very proud of what we achieved in Porto, but now we're fully focused on the league and approaching tomorrow's game in the best way possible."
What point is Lukaku at? "He's getting more minutes under his belt. He's been a really important figure in helping us achieve this feat in the Champions League. He scored in the first leg against Porto, played 90 minutes against Spezia and did well when he came on in Portugal. He's working as best he can alongside his teammates, and I'm really happy with him. I'm also happy that Correa has been training well in the past four days because we need everyone."
Can a balance be found in terms of being solid in defence and, at the same time, maintaining an attacking threat? "It's something we know that we have to improve. Matches are made up of transitions; many goals are conceded when you have control of the ball. Against Porto, we dropped a bit too deep at the end, but, apart from the closing stages, we were excellent in defence. We were involved in a big round of 16 tie against a strong side and went into the game on the back of a defeat to Spezia."
What are your thoughts on Di Maria? Have you studied something in particular? "We all know what kind of player he is; he's a great champion. Juventus have a lot of potential and a great squad containing players who can change the course of a match at any moment. We'll need to keep a close eye on the likes of Di Maria, Vlahovic and Chiesa."
What do you think about the current situation in the league? "I'm looking at the table as it currently stands. As for the rest, there are the appropriate bodies dealing with the matter. We'll see what happens, but I hope it's sorted out soon because clarity is needed."
With all these Italian teams still in Europe, can Serie A be seen in a new light? "We needed it, and we all produced great performances. A big step has been taken, and we all need to continue in this manner because the further we go, the better it is for Italian football."
What is your takeaway from making it through against Porto? "The joy my lads felt. We knew that we'd achieved something important, and there was real pride. The joy felt by the lads and the fans is the number one thing. As for tomorrow's game, Juventus like to alternate. Sometimes, they sit back, and, on other occasions, they press. We'll need to read the game well during key moments."
Does criticism sometimes provide motivation? "My biggest concern is that we all work for the good of Inter on a daily basis. There will always be criticism."
Would you like to think that the effort put in by the players in Porto was for you, too? "This group has done some very good things, and I'm very satisfied. Inter and the fans need to be on our minds. We've done really well in the Champions League, while we could have done more in Serie A. However, we'll continue working to do better."