Inter will need to be at their best both collectively and individually if they are to put in a defensive performance against a Benfica side who have been in rampaging form in attack recently.
This is highlighted in today’s print edition of Milan-based newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, via FCInterNews, who note the prospective importance of a top performance from Andre Onana in goal and having key defenders fit and at their best among the keys to keeping the Portuguese team quiet.
If Inter had any thought of underestimating what they’ll be up against facing Benfica, it can certainly be dispelled by the fact that the Portuguese league-leaders have scored a total of 23 goals in their last eight matches.
When Roger Schmidt’s men are on song, they have proven themselves to be one of the most formidable attacking units in all of Europe.
However, the Nerazzurri have already proven that they can put in a real defensive shift against top attacking sides including Napoli and Barcelona this season.
Keeping the Lisbon-based team quiet will require, first of all, that Onana be in the kind of form that he was against their Portuguese Porto in the last round of the Champions League.
Then, there is no doubt that Inter would want to have Skriniar and Bastoni back to take their place on the sides of their first-choice back three.
Having these individual players fit and firing won’t necessarily be enough, however.
To keep Benfica quiet in attack, Inter will have to prove, as they have done against the likes of Napoli, Barcelona, and AC Milan among others, that they can operate as a unit to protect their defenders and keeper, particularly in the channels where the Portuguese side’s danger players will try to wreak havoc.