Inzaghi: "We need to play with intensity"
Team— Oct 2nd 2023
The Nerazzurri Head Coach spoke on the eve of Inter vs. Benfica
After their draw in their opening match against Real Sociedad, Inter are ready to return to Champions League action. Their next opponents are Benfica, who they'll face at 21:00 CEST at San Siro tomorrow.
Following the team's training session today, Nerazzurri Head Coach Simone Inzaghi spoke to the press at the Suning Training Centre:
From a mental perspective, could Benfica be thinking they have an opportunity to gain revenge? "It'll be a tough match; we'll be facing a team that play at a very high intensity and won the Portuguese Super Cup. They're a well-established team because they've had the same head coach for a while now. They lost their first Champions League match but played the vast majority of the match with ten men. Despite that, they had several chances and deserved a different result."
Is Cuadrado ready? "He trained today and did well; he'll be part of the matchday squad. Clearly, I have to assess things, but he's a very important player who I'll be counting on in our coming matches."
How much credit do you deserve for Lautaro's growth? "As a player, he was fantastic during my first two years in charge. This season, he's once again started strongly, but, as a man, he shows total commitment every day and has a very strong sense of belonging to Inter." How are Benfica different now compared to last season? "They've changed a few players: they have a new goalkeeper and a couple of new faces in midfield, and we shouldn't forget about Di Maria and Musa. They possess more quality, but their playing principles remain the same. We need to display intensity because Benfica are a great side."
How are Frattesi and Sensi doing? "Sensi has a problem and will be back after the international break. As regards Frattesi, we're evaluating whether he could be available for our match against Bologna. We hoped he might be able to play tomorrow, but it's better not to risk him."
Benfica were a Pot 1 side in the draw but lost to Salzburg, so it's an important match for them. Will they be more aggressive or try to ensure they avoid further damage? "They unexpectedly lost their first match because they created a lot despite being a man down. Salzburg are a very strong side with many young players. It's a very balanced group, and we've seen for ourselves how competitive Real Sociedad are."
Have you taken into account Benfica's desire for revenge? What has been the best thing about Inter's start to the season? "I like how my lads are together. There's great participation and everyone wants to cause me a selection headache. We previously had time to get to work on the training pitch, but now we have many matches in quick succession. Benfica are coming into this game on the back of a victory over Porto, while we managed to win in Salerno. We're convinced we can produce a big performance. I'm happy with how we're progressing, and we promise to always give everything and win as many matches as possible."
What did you enjoy most about the match in Salerno, and where can the team improve? "We approached the match very well in Salerno and created several chances. Then, we should have defended better in the final 20 minutes of the first half. After the restart, we regained control and didn't risk giving anything away."
Are you not going to be together tonight because you want to lessen the load mentally? "Yes. We've played three matches in quick succession and had to travel to Spain, Empoli and Salerno. We'll meet back up for breakfast tomorrow and add the finishing touches to our preparations, and then I'll select the team."
Sarri has complained about the heavy schedule: what are your thoughts on his words? Did you like what you saw from those who started in Salerno? "The schedule is heavy, but we have to get used to it. The changes us coaches make need to help prevent injuries and give us the chance to use all the players we have at our disposal. I've rotated a lot in the past few games, and now we have two more matches before the international break."
How important is Lautaro's leadership? "Lautaro has had two great seasons under my leadership and is aiming to have another one. He'll be looking to make the most of balls that are played to him by his teammates."
How special is it for you to come up against Rui Costa, the president of Benfica? And what memories do you have of the Champions League from your playing days? "I have fantastic memories of the Champions League from when I was a player and also as a coach, because we did really well last season. Rui Costa was a great opponent. It's always been a pleasure to talk to him about football."