Former Nerazzurri defender Francesco Colonnese is a big fan of the way that Inter Milan play under Simone Inzaghi.

Colonnese spoke to Turin-based newspaper Tuttosport in an interview published in yesterday’s print edition, via FCInter1908, beaming about the working of his former Nerazzurri teammate.

It has now been more than two and a half years since Inzaghi took over as Inter coach.

The 47-year-old had a big job on his hands when he took the reins from Antonio Conte.

And there were some doubts about whether Inzaghi would be the right man to do it.

Whilst the former striker’s work at Lazio had made him one of the most well-regarded coaches in Italian football, Inter are a club with higher expectations than the Biancocelesti.

The first couple of seasons were not entirely conclusive in terms of the signs about the job that Inzaghi would do as Inter coach.

In Inzaghi’s first campaign in charge, Inter came close to winning the Serie A title.

But in the decisive weeks of the season, the Nerazzurri ran out of steam. This allowed city rivals AC Milan to overtake them, winning the title on the final day of the season.

Then last season, Inter’s league form was even worse. A miserable twelve losses in Serie A punished Inter for a real lack of consistency.

But in contrast to that erratic league campaign, Inter shone in Europe. Inzaghi guided the Nerazzurri to the Champions League final, where they came painfully close to winning Europe’s top prize at club level.

Colonnese Beams At Inter Under Simone Inzaghi

This season, Inter look to have found the right balance under Inzaghi.

The Nerazzurri have transferred the momentum from last season’s European adventure to the league.

Playing a stylish and dominant brand of football, Inter are nine points clear at the top of the Serie A table.

And this evening, Inter will return to Champions League knockout action. They face formidable opposition in the round of sixteen in the form of Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid.

Of the meeting between his two old teammates Inzaghi and Simeone, Colonnese said that “They’re two dear friends for me.”

“I respect them and love them both,” he continued.

“I’m sorry to see them come up against one another.”

“I knew that Diego would become a great coach,” the former defender noted.

“Simone, on the other hand, was a pleasant surprise for me.”

“He too is passionate about football,” Colonnese said of the Inter coach. “But he has always had that kind of boardroom streak that seemed more typical of a sporting director.”

“When we were at Lazio together he could name hundreds of players from the lower leagues,” Colonnese noted.

“But he’s made me change my mind.”

“I love this Inter team profoundly,” Colonnese admitted. “And I’m sure this will be a great match between two teams who play great football.”