Inter head coach Simone Inzaghi is playing down the idea that the Nerazzurri’s Champions League group stage clash with Shakhtar Donetsk tomorrow is a must-win game.
Speaking in a press conference ahead of tomorrow’s match in Europe, Inzaghi spoke of his team’s mindset and preparations ahead of the encounter with their opponents in Group D.
Inter will face last year’s Ukrainian Premier League runners-up in Ukraine with both sides desperate for a result having failed to take any points from their respective group stage openers, Inter against Real Madrid and Shakhtar against Sheriff Tiraspol.
Roberto De Zerbi’s Shakhtar team present formidable opposition, with the Nerazzurri having failed to beat the Ukrainian team in last year’s edition of the competition at two times of asking, while managed by Luis Castro and Antonio Conte respectively.
However, the Nerazzurri head into the match confident and in good form in Serie A, and off the back of a match against Real Madrid at the San Siro where they were unlucky not to get at least a draw.
Inzaghi began by speaking about having scored against Shakhtar during his playing days, stating “I remember that game very well. Unfortunately for everyone it’s been a long time. I think Shakhtar have made a great progress, two years ago they reached the semi-finals of the Europa League, they have grown a lot. They are ambitious and will want to cause us problems.”
On whether tomorrow’s match will be decisive to the outcome of the group stage, he said that “It is not yet but it is very important, I think Shakhtar are a very good team. Very well-organized and they play good football, with important individual players.”
“We will have to have a great match knowing that we come off a very good match against Atalanta,” he went on, |I really liked the team’s response against an opponent of great quality.”
“After seeing Shakhtar in the last few games, in the Champions League preliminaries and in the Super Cup, I think De Zerbi is trying to bring his ideas in,” Inzaghi said of his opposite number, “In two and a half months he has done a very good job. He has made some slight changes considering the players he has, who are very good.”
On what he wants to see from his side tomorrow Inzaghi said, “I asked for a team that responded well and played good football. I think we’ve seen these two things in the first six games.”
“In addition,” he continued, “we need to find balance – we attack with many men, we develop a lot of good possession, but sometimes we have to look for less technically difficult ways to get forward because when we make a mistake we can give up dangerous counter-attacks.”
On matches against the likes of Verona, Fiorentina, and Atalanta,” Inzaghi said that “We experienced some difficulties. We went behind in all three, but I am very happy with the team’s response. Despite some unfavourable episodes, the team has always shown excellent responses.”
“I think you have understood that we are an attacking team who like to build out from the back,” he concluded, “when we have days where we make technical mistakes a little more than usual, against opponents who have pace, we can suffer from counter-attacks. At the same time we have to counter well, and try to have more balance by not getting ourselves out of shape, and create opportunities as we have been doing.”