Inter head coach Simone Inzaghi feels that tomorrow evening’s Champions League group stage opener against Bayern Munich will be a chance for his team to regain some of the momentum lost in Saturday’s loss to AC Milan.
Speaking in a press conference ahead of the match, as reported by FCInterNews, the coach expressed the hope that the team can bounce back against Bayern, whilst he also predicted that they will need at least ten points from their six group stage matches to make it to the knockout stages.
Inter faced a difficult defeat by falling 3-2 to city rivals the Rossoneri in Saturday’s derby clash, and things aren’t going to get any easier for them as they go head to head with German champions Bayern at the San Siro tomorrow.
However, the match could very well be a turning point in which the Nerazzurri can prove that they have not been knocked out by Saturday’s loss and can be at their best against top opposition once again.
Of the presence of a packed San Siro cheering the team on against Bayern, Inzaghi said that “”t will be very important to have them at the stadium.”
“Tomorrow they’ll help us a lot, we know how good the opponent we’re up against is, the strength they have,” he continued. “The group is very, very competitive, tomorrow can be an opportunity after the defeat that we suffered in the derby.”
Of his team selection, Inzaghi said that “It’s not right to talk about individuals, we all have to bring our levels up. I have several doubts in terms of my team. We still have to see in training.”
“After the press conference I’ll look at the data from this morning’s training session,” he continued, “we know that we have to ten ten points in this group, which will be more difficult than last season, but we’re Inter and we have to rise to the occasion and challenge one of the three or four favourites for the Champions League.”
Asked if he thinks tomorrow’s match can be a turning point, the coach said that “Defeats must become opportunities, clearly we analyzed Saturday’s game.”
“There were periods when we were the better side, but we only managed to score two goals,” he noted. “Up until the equalizer we were in control and then the goal came from a misplaced pass.”
“At 3-2 we would have deserved a goal based on what we created,” Inzaghi opined. “Right now things are like that, we have to work harder, myself more than anyone.”
Of whether any particular player is to blame for the defeat against Milan, he said that “One culprit is always looked for, but the whole of Inter is the culprit. I’m the main culprit.”
“The season is starting slowly, not just us but the other top contenders have also been getting going at a slow pace,” he noted. “Now we have to watch how we progress one match at a time, both on video and on the pitch. We all need to improve.”
Asked whether he considers Barcelona’s Roberto Lewandowski or Bayern’s Sadio Mane to be the more dangerous striker, Inzaghi said that “We met Mane last season with Liverpool, he’s a player with crazy intensity who affects the game in both phases of player.”
“Lewandowski is a great player,” he continued, “we’ll face the two of them four times in a month and a half, they’ll be difficult matches but we will try to challenge them.”
Returning to the subject of Saturday’s derby defeat, the coach said that “We’ve analyzed it, when you experience such painful losses you have to analyze them.”
“The most serious mistake is that we seemed to stop playing after the equalizer,” he suggested, “a bad episode can happen against great teams.”
“We need to react better, stay in the game, play as we had been before the equalizer and after we had went 3-1 down,” he reflected. “We managed the game well for long spells in the derby.”
Of midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Inzaghi said that “He came on in the derby and did very well, he’s a player who gives us both quality and quantity.”
“He will give us a lot, he had an injury layoff after Lecce, but now he’s been working at full capacity for a week,” the coach continued of the Armenian. “He could represent an option for us either from the start or coming on as a substitute.”
And of wingback Robin Gosens, he said that “Gosens is training very well, hr’s an exemplary professional. Last year he practically missed out on the entire season, he’s still affected by this long period out due to the recurrence of his injury.”
“I am happy with how he’s training,” Inzaghi said of the former Atalanta wingback, “it will be up to me to choose whether to play him.”
When it was noted that Bayern are coming into tomorrow’s match coming off of two draws in the Bundesliga, Inzaghi said that “I’ve seen their last two matches, in terms of statistics they’ve been one-sided.”
“The opponents have done well to use their aggression to limit a team who are, with their intensity and aggression, one of the best in all of Europe,” was how he analyzed the German champions’ two recent stumbles in the league.
Asked if there had been a response in the locker room from Inter’s big name players after the defeat to Milan over the weekend, Inzaghi responded “Absolutely, yes.”
“The training sessions have gone as I’ve wanted,” he continued, “but I’ve always gotten that from this group, which has done extraordinary things in a year and a bit with me.”
“We’ve lost two big matches,” the coach reflected, “and apart from the discipline it will depend on how the team trains, and despite the setback they’ve trained in the best way.”
“Tomorrow we’ll face real difficulties, and we’ll have to do well as a team to overcome them,” he said in closing.