Inzaghi: "The squad has worked well: we can't wait to get started"
Team— Aug 18th 2023
The Nerazzurri coach speaks at the press conference on the eve of Inter-Monza
The countdown to Inter-Monza has begun: the Nerazzurri's season will kick off on Saturday at 20:45 CEST at San Siro on the first matchday of the championship.
After pre-season and the summer friendlies, it's time to kick off Serie A. Simone Inzaghi, the Nerazzurri coach, answered questions from journalists at the press conference on the eve of the match.
70 days later, football starts up again: which Inter will the fans find tomorrow? "Tomorrow it will be exciting to return to San Siro, it will be the first time we will see the fans again after Istanbul, where they were wonderful. We can't wait to get started, we hope to do so in the right way because they deserve it."
What atmosphere do you feel in the team and in the environment? Are there any differences compared to the beginning of last year? "The boys worked very well to prepare, despite the long journeys. The team trained in the best possible way and we, the staff, can't wait to start too. We have three games before the break and we want to start in the right way".
The team has changed a lot: how strong are you feeling at the moment? "The market is complicated for almost everyone, we know that a big change is underway. We have changed many players, some of the best in Italy in their respective roles. Young players with great prospects have arrived, together with someone more experienced players who will help them grow".
What is your level compared to last year? "The pitch will tell us: we've changed a lot due to various choices, both ours and those of some players. What we are will be shown on the pitch, but I can say that I've seen great commitment: I'm happy with how the team works. We've taken on important young players, who already have experience, but there are also experienced players who will help them."
Who are the favourites to win the league? Is Inter one of them? "I don't like making predictions, I've never made them. Our big dream is to win the second star above our badge, our fans deserve it. As always, our goal this season is to win trophies and play as many games as possible. It will be a long and difficult path, but we will do our best."
What does a coach look for with a team that wants to try to win? "Enthusiasm and motivation will be fundamental. In the first 45 days, the boys have shown me an insane commitment. There have been some changes, it's something that is part of modern football and what's more, all the coaches have the market open to them until 1 September, with the Arab market continuing even further. Some coaches could risk finding themselves with fewer players."
There was talk about Inter having a softer start to the calendar, but the games at the beginning of the year are very fresh: is there an awareness that this could be a dangerous start? What do you feel like saying at the beginning of the season? "The calendar leaves free the time it finds: last year we recovered positions in the end, even though on paper we had very complicated games. In the last 10 days, we won 8 games: in Serie A all the teams are very organized and the matches will have to be played in the best way possible. I can say that I have seen the team working well this week or so, trying to learn the principles of our game".
Is Lukaku among the players who chose themselves to leave? "I've already talked about it, I thank him for what he gave us last year. I wanted him back last season, but now the choice was his to make. I'm sorry because he was very well received by the whole milieu".
Inter have changed in attack: what do you think of the team's offensive level? "The four forwards that I have are working well, you already know Lautaro and Correa, then now there are also Thuram and Arnautovic. They are players of the highest calibre, and they must cover the goals that came from Lukaku and Dzeko last year, they will do very well and integrate themselves perfectly with the other two: there is great trust in them from everyone".
How do you see Sommer and Thuram? "They are players who come from other leagues. Thuram already speaks Italian perfectly, so clearly it will be easier for him to join. Sommer is a great professional: you don't need me to introduce him to you, but beyond the two of them, who are both excellent, we have made many signings as players which gives us the chance to be complete in every department. We know that we are still missing a defender and the club is working on this."
What characteristics should the missing defender have? "He must be a third in defence: behind we added Bisseck, who has a young perspective. He played in Denmark, a very different league from Italy, he's working well and will give us satisfaction, but it's also right to help him out and give him some time. We lack a right-back which is not very easy to find in the current market".
Do you need to make other moves in attack? Would you like to comment on your nomination for the UEFA Coach of the Year award? "I am very happy to be nominated alongside two great coaches like Guardiola and Spalletti, but it must be shared with my precious staff, the club and the players, those who are here and those who have left. Last year we saw that the four forwards are useful, and at the moment I'm satisfied: from tomorrow we hope they will help Inter to play excellent matches".
What are the characteristics of Thuram and Arnautovic? "They're two different players, Arnautovic is physical, he's a striker with great technique and experience. Thuram is a French international, he's done very well in recent years, we’ve been interested in him for a while. He's certainly an excellent signing, but they both integrate very well with the other two forwards."
Stefano Sensi stood out in preseason: could he be important? "Definitely yes, Stefano is working very well every day. I'm very happy, but I was also happy in his first 6 months with me, he scored important goals. He's working very well, now, however, the most important thing is tomorrow's match, which is’nt being talked about so much".
There are many ex-players between both Inter and Monza: what do you expect from them as an opposition? "Monza is an organized team, with an excellent coach and last year they put us in difficulty. Tomorrow we want to play an excellent game. Among their ex-players we have Augusto and Frattesi, you know them and they are two great players, they'll help us a lot. Frattesi is a modern midfielder, of quantity and quality. Carlos con Cuadrado gives us alternatives for the fifths, during the game and from the start, but I'll choose from time to time."
Would you swap the UEFA candidacy for Pavard? "He’s certainly a target, not the only one, but I don't feel like talking about players from other teams. We need an important player: Darmian is essential for us and he needs to be recognised, but I need competition for all roles to raise the intensity of our training".
You have received some criticism according to which you need to have more quality: what do you think about it? "You're bringing them up to me, I don't pay attention to them. We'll try to change their minds on the field, they speak badly of us, not so much of me personally but of my boys who have been doing great things for two years".
What does Monza expect and what do you think of the ex-players who arrived in red and white? "I think tomorrow San Siro will applaud D'Ambrosio and Gagliardini, but also Carboni, who is an excellent player with great prospects. You know the first two, they are excellent professionals and great players, it is right that they are applauded by the fans".