Inter head coach Simone Inzaghi feels that regardless of whether or not the team win the Serie A title in the last round of matches tomorrow, their season has been a positive one.
Speaking in a press conference ahead of tomorrow’s final Serie A match of the season against Sampdoria, as reported by FCInterNews, the coach gave his reflection on his first campaign in charge of the Nerazzurri and also expressed the hope that Ivan Perisic extends his contract.
Inzaghi arrived last summer and had to oversee a difficult transition which saw key players from last season depart and new players signed to replace them.
The coach has guided the team to a comfortable top four finish, the round of sixteen of the Champions League, and two trophies in the form of the Supercoppa Italiana and the Coppa Italia, with the chance for the Scudetto tomorrow if AC Milan slip up at the top.
“We’ve won two trophies, played good football, returned to the round of sixteen of the Champions League and we’ll fight for the Scudetto to the last day,” Inzaghi said. “I see a much to be positive about for the season.”
Of preparations for tomorrow’s match, the coach said that “The team has had a week like any other, we know that there are these last ninety minutes, we’ll have to play well so that we have no regrets, we know it doesn’t just depend on us and we have to finish with 84 points regardless.”
“We have to just concentrate on what we have control over,” he added. “We saw Sampdoria play against Sampdoria.”
“They’ve kept themselves up,” he went on, “they ‘re playing with freedom and they played their best match in months.”
He pointed out that “Our destiny doesn’t just depend on us but we have to go through Sampdoria who we’ll treat as a serious match like any other.”
Of wingback Ivan Perisic’s importance to the team, Inzaghi said that “Perisic has always appeared to be a special player as an opposition coach.”
“He’s had other great season but this year I think he has outdone himself,” he added. “I know he’ll have a meeting with the club and I hope for a positive outcome because I’m counting on him in my Inter plans for the future.”
Of another contract extension, that of captain Samir Handanovic, he said that “Clearly I hope so.
“I have an appointment with the club next week to talk about next season,” Inzaghi continued. Up to now we’ve had the Coppa italia final and these last few league matches. I have a frank and open relationship with the club, we’ll meet and take stock.”
Of his assessment for the season, the coach said that “I can only say what the objectives were, we knew it would be a difficult season but I believed that we could have a great season.”
“We’re here competing for the Scudetto inthe last match and we know that the league can still surprise us,” he added.
“My goal is to win against Sampdoria, a game where we have to be at our best just as we have been in the others, because against Udinese and Cagliari it wasn’t easy after seeing Milan win.”
Inzaghi said that he feels “Great calmness here on the pitch with my players and at home with my family.”
“I can say what my thoughts are,” he added, “the team has had a great season. I’m very happy, it’s normal that it would be extraordinary if something more were to come tomorrow but we know we’ve made our fans happy and they’ve deserved it.”
“I don’t think the fans have ever abandoned us,” the coach added, “they pushed us along, and both the Supercoppa and the Coppa Italia final at the Olimpico in front of 40,000 Inter fans still give me goosebumps.”
Of the assessments of his season, Inzaghi said that “We as coaches are always under scrutiny, as it should be and as has always been the case.”
“I know the journey myself and my staff have taken,” he went on. “I know what the goals were and I knew what Inter’s issues were. Along the way, the responsibilities have gotten greater.”
“We went beyond expectations but there’s still tomorrow and I want to experience it in the best way possible,” the coach said. “The team are charged up and we’ve had a positive week.”
Asked if comparisons to former Inter coach Antonio Conte bother him, Inzaghi replied “Not much.”
“I have an excellent relationship with Conte,” he added. “There is mutual respect between us, it’s normal to be compared but I haven’t given any weight to it.”
“I look at the journey we’ve taken,” he continued, “what the club has given to me, they’ve always been with me from day one, the trophies raised and in the few defeats we’ve experience.”
“Judgments must be based on the pitch,” he went on. “I think it’s been a great season regardless of tomorrow. I can only be satisfied with what’s been accomplished along with my staff, not forgetting the club, the players, and the fans.”
On coaches to have surprised him, Inzaghi said “Many have done very well, I have to think of Nicola because he inherited a difficult situation being so many points behind.”
“The discussion is an open one, people are too quick to give their verdicts,” he added. “There are ninety minutes to go as far as the Scudetto, European football, and safety. Everything is still to play for.”
Of defender Milan Skriniar, the coach said that “He’s had a great season. He’s a guy who always wants to improve, I’m satisfied with him and with the whole squad, from those who played all the games to those who’ve played less.”
“You don’t get to the end where we are with 1just eleven or twelve players,” he stressed. “I don’t focus on the individual but I applaud the entire squad because they’ve all given everything to me.”
Of the finale to the title race tomorrow afternoon, the coach emphasized that “Inter and Milan both have to worry about Sampdoria and Sassuolo tomorrow, they’ll fight to improve their positions.”
“We’ll face two serious and organized opponents and we both have to give our all,” he added.
When pointed out that he said he’d rather have the first leg of the Champions League tie against Liverpool back rather than last month’s shock defeat against Bologna, Inzaghi said that “I answered a question based on how the team played, I regret it because we didn’t deserve to lose 2-0.”
“We went into the Champions League aiming to reach the knockout rounds and we know that the two games against Liverpool caused us to drop a few points and lose some players.:
“Maybe we would have a few more points,” he suggested, “but I’m happy with the progress we’ve made. We’ll see tomorrow whether it will be decisive or not but I’m happy with the successes in the Supercoppa and the Coppa Italia.”
And of forward Joaquin Correa, the coach said that “He has a lot of quality, he’s showed it. Unfortunately he had two major injuries that slowed him down. As for tomorrow, I still have training today and tomorrow, and all five forwards are in good shape. I’ll make my decision.”