Inter Milan coach Simone Inzaghi is optimistic about the fitness of midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan for tomorrow evening’s Champions League final against Man City.
Speaking in a press conference ahead of the final, as reported by FCInterNews, the coach gave an update on the 34-year-old’s fitness.
Nerazzurri midfielder Mkhitaryan‘s fitness is a bit of a doubt for tomorrow’s final.
There is virtually no doubt that the Armenian will be a part of the squad.
However, what’s less certain is exactly what condition he’ll be in. This will be Mkhitaryan’s first match in around three weeks after he picked up a thigh injury against AC Milan last month.
It’s not clear whether he’ll start or be benched. It’s also not certain whether he’ll be able to play at his best.
Inzaghi Gives Update On Henrikh Mkhitaryan Fitness For Man City Clash
Asked about Mkhitaryan, Inter coach Inzaghi said that “Today is the last training session. Yesterday he completed his first full session after 22 days.”
“The feeling is positive, although I’ll have to make a decision.”
“I’m lucky enough to coach a group of real men who I wouldn’t trade for anyone,” he added. “This group gives me immense joy, and we’ve also given that to our fans.”
“The guys are calm, they’re training at their best.”
“We have some doubts about some players, Mkhitaryan and Correa, but both seem to be recovering,” he added.
Asked who he expects to start between Mkhitaryan and Marcelo Brozovic, Inzaghi said that “In the last two months I’ve had to make a lot of selection decisions.”
“Unfortunately over the first five I wasn’t really able to do so the way I am now,” the Nerrazzurri coach continued.
“Tomorrow, we’ll evaluate Mkhitaryan’s condition, he can’t be 100% but he showed positive signs yesterday,” he added.
Inter Milan Coach Calls Man City “Strongest Team In The World”
The Nerazzurri coach was asked about what kind of final he’s expecting.
“We know the kind of match that we’ll have to play,” he said. “City are the strongest team in the world. They’ve proved that even in the very few defeats that they’ve suffered.”
“However, we know the journey we’ve taken to get here,” Inzaghi continued. “We’ll stay focused, limiting errors because we’re up against a very strong side.”
“Tomorrow will be our 57th match of the season,” the coach noted. “It’s been a very long journey, in which we’ve experienced difficult moments and we have grown through defeats, both deserved and undeserved.”
“We’ve been without some important players for long periods,” he continued. “But the guys have stuck together through this incredible period, and we’ve arrived at the Champions League final.”
“In the recent period, we haven’t had a lot of time to really think about what we’ve accomplished,” Inzaghi added.
“Because we’ve also had to think about the Coppa Italia final and qualifying for the Champions League.”
“We’re totally focused on fighting for every inch against a really difficult opponent,” he said of tomorrow’s final.
Inzaghi: Inter Need “Legs, Head & Heart”
Asked if he thinks midfield will be key against City, Inzaghi replied that “It will be very important. But beyond that, legs, head, and heart will all be important tomorrow.”
“We need legs so we can run even more, clear heads because how we start the match will be vital, and heart because in these kinds of matches you can find energy that even you didn’t know you had.”
Of Inter President Steven Zhang’s comments that Inzaghi has “quiet strength,” the coach said that “That makes me very happy to hear, after this long journey with a lot of trophies and victories.”
“But there have also been difficult moments, and his phone calls have always given me great strength.”
“The same goes for my staff.”
Inter Milan Must Work As A Team To Stop Erling Haaland
Inzaghi was also asked how the Nerazzurri can stop Man City’s superstar striker Erling Haaland tomorrow.
“We know how good City and Haaland are,” he replied.
“Clearly we’ll need to pay special attention to him, as with all their players,” he continued. “We’ve prepared something, but the entire Inter team will have to defend and limit him, and stop the entire City team.”
Asked if he and the team are preparing for the possibility of a penalty shootout, Inzaghi responded that “We’ve always practiced them throughout the season, and we’ll also do so tomorrow.”
At the prospect that all three Serie A teams in European finals could lose their big matches, the Inter coach said that “I’m sorry for Roma and Fiorentina, who unfortunately lost.”
“Regardless of how this ends, I think that this year a great milestone has been reached with the three Italian finalists.”
“It sends a great message,” he added.