One man who knows Stefano Pioli and Simone Inzaghi very well is Igli Tare who was the sporting director at Lazio while both were head coaches there, and he revealed some great insight on the AC Milan and Inter bosses.
Tare was Lazio’s sporting director from July 2008 to earlier this year, meaning that he saw a number of head coaches come and go. Pioli guided them to a third-placed finish in 2013-14 before losing in the Champions League qualifiers, while Inzaghi won three trophies there.
Now, the two ex-Aquile bosses have ended up in charge of Milan and Inter respectively, and they will contest the Derby della Madonnina one week on Saturday with both their sides having won three out of three to start the season.
Tare gave an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport during which he spoke about the two coaches including the areas where they are similar and the things where they differ, with his comments relayed by Radio Rossonera.
“I wanted them both on the bench and time has shown what they are made of. What do they have in common? Empathy, knowing how to create a strong bond with footballers, which is why they gain trust in return,” he said.
“Perhaps, between the two, Inzaghi is still a little more… ‘player’ – he tends to be a friend, even if he knows when to keep his distance. However, they are different in their tactical evolution.
“Inzaghi started with the same formation perfected over the years: the 3-5-2 is a strong point, it gives security. Pioli has varied more: already with us he often used the 4-3-3, but he won a championship with the 4-2-3-1.
“They are real, frank and pure people, as I like them. I have an excellent relationship with both of them. Too early for the derby? No, it’s the ideal moment for emotions and spectacle to win.
“At the start there could have been question marks about Simone. Some thought he was too young, not very international and, instead, he already has a much richer showcase than many ‘veterans’.
“He managed to shorten the time thanks to his tenacity and even came close to the Champions League. Rather, I focus on another aspect: what matters above all is how you overcome the difficulties that are part of the journey.
“Simone had his back against the wall last year, but he was extraordinary in not giving in to external pressure and focusing on the present. Few others would have made it out alive, but by weathering that storm everything changed for Inzaghi: this is finally ‘his’ Inter.”
“Pioli arrived at Milan with a more varied background and different experiences. The parenthesis at Inter helped him, but what he experienced at Lazio and Fiorentina also prepared him for the definitive leap.
“He already had the right maturity when he arrived in Milan, then we saw his growth up until the Scudetto. His hand can be seen in the way he integrated the new players – Pulisic, Reijnders, Loftus-Cheek – people who give pace and change the game.
“Like Milan, Inter also had an interesting, tantalising transfer market, changing their offensive structure. I think the two teams will battle for months.”