Inter head coach Simone Inzaghi has proved his credentials in the Champions League over the past three seasons by reaching the knockout stages of the competition on each occasion.

This according to today’s print edition of Milan-based newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, who note that in both previous instances the coach has faced extremely formidable opposition in the round of sixteen but could have another chance this time around.

Inzaghi’s first season in the Champions League was a broadly successful endeavour, as the 46-year-old guided Lazio into the knockout stage in their long-awaited return to the competition.

The Biancocelesti were swept aside by Bayern Munich to show that there was still a European level that they were yet to reach, but even making it as far as they did was a positive testament to Inzaghi’s work.

In his first season in charge of Inter, the coach immediately brought the Nerazzurri to the knockout rounds, something they had failed to do at the prior three times of asking under Luciano Spaleltti and Antonio Conte.

On that occasion the Nerazzurri met another of Europe’s heavy hitters in the form of eventual finalists Liverpool, and despite impressing in their tie against the Reds, could not overcome them.

This time around, Inzaghi has masterminded a spot in the last sixteen of Europe’s competition yet again, from a hugely difficult group containing Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

Moreover the 46-year-old has done so without Romelu Lukaku apart from a cameo appearance against Viktoria Plzen once qualification had already been secured.

The coach will still be hoping that he can have the Belgian back at his disposal when the Nerazzurri face the round of sixteen for the second season running.

Inter do not yet know who they will be up against in the next round, but whoever they draw they can expect a hugely formidable challenge, one which promises to be a step above what the group stage has thrown at them.

In his previous two attempts, Inzaghi has made it that far before finding that the step up was one too far for his team.

However, if the former Lazio coach can call upon a striker of Lukaku’s quality in this season’s round of sixteen, then he could have reason to feel that it is finally his time to take the next step into the quarter-finals, whoever the Nerazzurri draw for the round of sixteen.