Inter Milan coach Simone Inzaghi has revealed that he still hasn’t made up his mind on whether to start Romelu Lukaku or Edin Dzeko in the Champions League final against Man City.
Speaking in a press conference, as reported by FCInterNews, the coach also looked back on the importance of matches against Real Madrid and Liverpool last season for getting the team to the point they’re at now.
Inter have just one match left to go this season, but it’s the big one.
In less than a week’s time, the Nerazzurri will face Manchester City for a chance to win European football’s top club honour.
Inzaghi: Haven’t Decided Whether Dzeko Or Lukaku Start Vs Man City
“At the moment it’s possible for me to make these decisions,” he noted. “In the first part of the season it wasn’t possible for me to rotate the team.”
“Top players never accept having a secondary role,” Inzaghi continued.
“There are still four training sessions left to go,” he noted. “A coach may have ideas, But then often you start in the evening thinking one thing, then when you’re warming up in the morning you decide something different.”
Inzaghi made clear that “The doubts remain right until the end.”
Asked when he really realized that Inter have earned their place in the Champions League final, Inzaghi replied that “It’s been a long journey, which began on the day of the group stage draw.”
“It wasn’t the luckiest day for us, as we drew Bayern and Barcelona.”
“Talking about it with the staff and the team, we said to each other that we could still have a great journey,” he noted. “And clearly, now we’re in the final.”
“But I think it all started last season,” Inzaghi suggested.
“In my mind, and also the guys, the four matches against Real and Liverpool, who eventually were finalists, always stayed in our thoughts.”
Inzaghi On Inter’s Chances Vs City: “I’m Not Very Good At Percentages”
The Inter coach was asked how he’d rate Inter’s chances of beating City.
“I’m not very good at percentages,” he remarked.
“We’re up against the strongest team in the world, who have won the Premier League five times in the past six years.”
“We’ll have to be very careful, and play as a team,” he continued. “Because we know we’re up against the very best.”
Inzaghi noted that City have “A fantastic squad, and a coach who’s marked an era.”
“In modern football there is a before period and an after for Guardiola,” the Inter coach praised his opposite number.
“It will be a very high-level match.”
Of the significance of playing in a Champions League final, Inzaghi said that “We have players who have played in the semifinals, but not in the final.”
“It’s the payoff for a long and difficult journey,” the Inter coach said of playing in the final. “But over the last three months I’ve had a deeper squad to rotate, and we’ve managed to do great things.”
Inter Coach Inzaghi Shares Anecdote About Pep Guardiola
Inzaghi also noted that he’s had a personal interaction with City coach Guardiola before.
“I came up against Guardiola as a player, and I also have a curious anecdote about him,” the Inter coach said.
“On my honeymoon after my wedding in New York in 2019, there was a person sitting at the table, ,” he recalled. “It was him.”
Asked what he took away from watching City in the semifinals against Real Madrid, Inzaghi replied that “I have so much admiration for Guardiola and City.”
“I felt that City would reach the final because the first leg had been a balanced match,” he noted. “Last season Real scored twice in added time, but this year I told my daughter and wife that City would win.”
Of the atmosphere that he expects for the final in Istanbul, Inzaghi spoke about “A stadium with lots of people, with City and Inter fans plus Turkish fans divided between Calhanoglu and Gundogan.”
“We’ll finish our training at the stadium,” he noted. “They’ve told me that the pitch is in excellent condition.”
Inzaghi Full Of Praise For Man City
Next, the Inter coach was asked what he thought of City’s performance to beat Man United in the FA Cup final.
“The more you see City, the more you understand their results,” he said.
“They have technique, physicality, they’re a complete team,” Inzaghi continued. “They play brilliantly in possession and in attack.”
He called the Citzyens “A team with very few weak points.”
But he also warned that “They’ll come up against an Inter side who have already proved what we can do along our journey.”
“We’ll have to keep them from having too much possession, and cover every inch of the pitch,” he continued. “They’re a very strong team.”
Of how Inter have managed to reach the Champions League final, Inzaghi noted that “In the important matches, despite the lack of some key players due to injury, the guys have pulled something out out of themselves that even we didn’t think they had in them.”
“We’ve done very well in most difficult matches of our season,” Inzaghi stressed.
Of the importance of getting off to a strong start against City, the Inter coach said that “It will be vital, as we have seen.”
“It’s a very important aspect of playing against them.”
“We know that City start matches very strongly,” he continued. “And we’re very focused and concentrated in this respect.”
Guardiola A Great Coach, But Inzaghi Fears Nothing
Asked what he fears in the final, Inzaghi replied “Nothing, we’re talking about football.”
“Guardiola is the best coach out there, he’s marked an era,” he continued. “I fear nothing, but I have a lot of respect.”
“We’re proud to play in this final because we’ve wanted it with all our strength for the entire season.”
“It will be the last of 57 matches and the ones that got us here are the 56 other ones. Even some of the much-discussed losses have allowed us to get to this point.”
Asked what Inter can do that Man United were unable to against City, Inzaghi replied “I don’t know, but United are one of the strongest teams in our view. We respect City, but United also had a great final.”
Inzaghi Happy To Be Labelled “King Of Cup Competitions”
Of his “Kind of cup competitions” label, Inzaghi said that “I’m pleased with the reputation.”
“I’ve been lucky enough to have great teams at Inter and Lazio,” he continued.
“In the decisive matches we’ve always played great matches,” the Inter coach continued. “Defending and attacking in the best way possible.”
“We’ll have to do so again on Saturday.”‘
Asked whether he feels that winning this season would be more impressive than Inter’s 2010 victory, Inzaghi responded that “I wasn’t there then. That team achieved a feat, and we’ll try to do the same on Saturday.”
“Bayern and City are different teams,” he emphasized. “They would both be two undertakings.”
“The match will be made up of moments,” Inzaghi stressed of the showdown with City. “It’s to be expected that we’ll have to do well to take some of the possession away from City, because they’re masters of possession and always dominate it against all opponents.”
“It’s not easy because they put youn under pressure,” he noted.
“We know there will be moments when we’ll all have to suffer together, and then others when we’ll be more attacking.”
“You’ll see what our strategy is on Saturday,” Inzaghi said. “Of course you have to allow them to have some possession.”
“We’ll have to do our best to take away their ceertainty,” he noted. “They’ve been playing together for many years with the same coach, and every year they improve in the transfer market.”
“We’ll go up against them with our own weapons,” he concluded.