Inter boss Simone Inzaghi sought to remind everyone that his side won the last derby against AC Milan and believes his side are well prepared for tomorrow’s game.
The derby between the red and blue side of Milano is always a fascinating spectacle, but it carries a bit more meaning at the moment given how the two sides have risen from being sleeping giants to competing for trophies again.
Inter won the league title in 2020-21 after a battle with Milan for most of the season but it was the turn of Stefano Pioli’s side to celebrate last season as they beat their city rivals in the second half of the season and ended up finishing two points ahead of them.
Inzaghi spoke at his pre-match press conference on the eve of the derby against Milan with his words transcribed by TMW and translated below, starting with a reflection on the meetings from last season.
How are you using your memory from last year’s match?
“Last year there were many derby games, the last one was won 3-0 by Inter and allowed us to win a trophy. We know what happened in the return to the league, I think a derby is loaded on its own. I have players with great personality and desire, the first two teams of the last season are compared. And as in all games, this year too the races will be balanced.
“There were four derbies last year, they were balanced and played well. The derbies must be played with great personality, we must be good at making sure that in addition to the incidents the duels count. It will be a derby with many duels, it will need ruthlessness and determination.”
Pioli said that Milan have strengthened, is it right to say the same thing about Inter?
“That will clearly tell the pitch, as I said before we worked well. The club worked well, keeping the players important, we made an intelligent transfer market with young and experienced players.”
Inter arrive at tomorrow’s match with one more point in the table. There was a lot of criticism after the defeat against Lazio, did you hear something you didn’t like?
“No, I said it after the match against Cremonese. There has been a lot of talk about our defeat, it’s normal because we are Inter and a defeat is always news. Four games have passed, we have nine points: I know we can improve from game to game, we have players with an important structure and therefore the more we play the better. Now we will have a tour de force.”
Will Bastoni play? And will it be Dzeko or Correa with Lautaro?
“Today’s training is to come. Bastoni was not at 100 percent before the Cremonese, he had had a feverish rise, but he had given me availability and I preferred to make other choices. In these last two days he still had an indisposition, today he will return to the group and I will have to decide.
“Without Lukaku, there will be three and Lautaro remained on the bench at the beginning against Cremonese, so I will have to choose his partner knowing that Correa did very well and scored, Dzeko has I did an extraordinary job and I was sorry he didn’t score. Even on the flanks I have to choose: I hope Bastoni can be called up, we will have 19 players plus three goalkeepers, with Lukaku out.”
You have changed the way Inter play. Can anything change tomorrow, against a fast counter-attacking team and slow defenders like Inter’s ones?
“This from time to time we try to analyse it. But I think that the difference in games like this is the attitude and motivation. We are the same team that last year remained eight games without conceding a goal regardless of the opponent. The condition must improve and then when you concede a goal I would not be talking only about the three defenders but about the attitude of the whole team.”
Calhanoglu spoke of ‘fire inside’. Is this because of the over-the-top celebrations by Milan players after the Scudetto?
“Everyone does what he believes and what he wants. I personally remember the two evenings with the two trophies in front of our fans and the embrace of our audience on the last day, they applauded us for the season. Then we all know how much tomorrow’s race counts.”
Who has strengthened the most on the market and who is the favourite for the Scudetto?
“They have all strengthened, we have seen how difficult it is to win. Easy matches have not proved to be so: we are six or seven teams all with one goal in mind, to win. Only one will be able to do it, the others will reach the positions that count.”