Sacchi believes Milan are ‘more solid’ but face tough task catching ‘more complete’ Inter

By Oliver Fisher -

Arrigo Sacchi believes that Stefano Pioli has now made AC Milan more solid, but they must go up another gear in order to have any chance of catching Inter.

While waiting for the match against Monza at the U-Power Stadium this evening at 20:45 CET, Inter consolidated their advantage over Juventus by taking advantage of their slip-up in Verona as they drew 2-2.

That in turn has presented an opportunity to Milan, who would take second spot outright if they were to win away against their Lombardy neighbours this evening, after having a seven-point gap to the Bianconeri in January.

Sacchi spoke during an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport (via Footitalia) about the race for the Scudetto, admitting that Inter are now well ahead of the chasing pack but they might face competition from a ‘more solid’ Milan.

“Inter have an Important advantage, although I continue to believe that the Nerazzurri should not feel they have already reached the finish line,” he said.

“They would make a serious mistake because it would lead to a sort of complacency that would penalise them. But I don’t think there is this risk, at least considering the way they played against Salernitana. A performance of great substance and seriousness.”

Milan are back in the running for second place…

“I saw the Rossoneri in the Europa League against Rennes, and they played a great game. They are in good shape, the defence is more solid, the team is more compact.

“We need to see how they recover from the cup exertions: midweek matches always drain a lot of energy. Both physical and psychological. In any case, by winning against Monza, they have the opportunity to surpass Juventus.”

Inter’s dominance in the league seems unquestionable. The team has grown, and so has its coach. What do you say?

“We’re not yet at perfection because I remain convinced that in life, you can always do more and better. But these steps forward are evident and convincing.”

What do you like about Simone Inzaghi?

“First of all, I must say that he is a very good guy, very polite, very respectful, and certainly prepared. And now he seems to be a more European coach. He has improved, and not a little.”

What do you mean by ‘more European’?

“Today, Inzaghi is on the right path to becoming a strategist. Before, he was a very good tactician, playing on opponents’ mistakes. Now he creates football.

“Before, Inter, after scoring, would close down defensively. Now, instead, they continue to attack to score the second goal. It means that the goal is to dominate the field.”

Where have Inter improved?

“I think the Champions League final last year was a watershed moment: the Nerazzurri lost, but they fought to the end and came close to equalising several times.

“There, they probably convinced themselves that they are capable of competing with a great team like Manchester City as long as they play a certain style of football. And since then, the improvements have been constant.

“The defence is always very attentive, the midfield is one of the strongest in circulation in Europe, the two strikers complement each other and move according to the team. And all this is thanks to Inzaghi.”

Do you like Inter’s style of play?

“I must say that now, the way Inter plays on the field fills your eyes. They are a team with precise harmony, they are more complete than in the past because they have more solutions.

“They don’t rely solely on the classic ‘defend and counter-attack’. It presses a bit, attacks with the wings, doesn’t leave many men in the backline.”

So, you see the coach’s hand…

“A lot. A team must be like an accordion, moving in that way, forward and backward. Compactness must not be lacking: thirty meters in length at most. Inzaghi has been good at teaching all this to his boys.”

Does it mean that group management also works?

“When you manage to convince twenty or twenty-five players, it means you are doing a good job. Now, however, watch out for Atletico Madrid: they are a difficult opponent to face, Simeone drives you crazy.

“But I am sure that Inzaghi, through strong motivations, team spirit, and the style of play he has given to Inter, will not disappoint us. Although the passage to the Champions League quarter-finals is unlikely to be decided at San Siro.”


Tags AC Milan Arrigo Sacchi

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