Just a month ago, it seemed that the future of Inter Milan coach Simone Inzaghi was hanging by a thread amid a series of disappointing performances. However, the Italian coach was the inspiration for the club’s recent awakening, as the team returned to the golden square in the Italian Football League and qualified for the final of two prominent tournaments.
And Inter’s season almost collapsed after a series of 6 matches without victory, which included 3 consecutive defeats in the Italian League, so he left the golden square after finishing second for several weeks.
But a 3-3 draw in the Champions League quarter-final second leg against Benfica allowed Inter to advance 5-3 on aggregate, and Inzaghi breathed a sigh of relief and got a chance to correct course.
Inzaghi tried to implement different methods of play this season by pressing high, in stark contrast to the season in which Inter won the title two years ago, when he was playing on the counter-attack most of the time.
But when this method did not work after Inter conceded easy goals, Inzaghi returned to clinging to the team’s strengths by closing spaces and playing on counter-attacks, which helped them win matches again.
And he led this team to win 8 consecutive matches in all competitions in the last month, during which Inter escaped from a group of difficult matches, as it beat Juventus, Lazio, Roma and arch-rivals Milan twice.
Juventus were eliminated from the Italian Cup semi-finals, while Milan did not even succeed in scoring against Inter in 4 confrontations this year and exited the Champions League after Inter won the semi-finals 3-0 on aggregate.
Harvest the fruits
The last time Milan lost 4 times to Inter in one season was in 1973-1974.
Inzaghi said, “We faced Milan several times, in the past few months, we played 4 summit matches and won them all. They have a great team, but the players performed very well and deserve to enjoy these victories.”
He continued, “It was a dream at the beginning, but we always believed in ourselves. We enjoyed an exceptional career, and winning the semi-finals in this way gives us a wonderful feeling. No party gave us any gifts. We achieved a dream with a lot of hard work and sacrifice.”
Inter seemed far from the nominations this season, with many players advancing in age and some contracts expiring at the end of the season.
Stars such as 37-year-old striker Edin Dzeko, Francesco Acerbi, Stefan de Vrij and Romelu Lukaku are set to leave at the end of the season. But Inzaghi succeeded in getting them all to walk in the same direction in search of glory.
Lukaku told CBS, “The situation this year was very complicated. We missed a consistent level in the league. But I think we witnessed an awakening last month. The coach follows a rotation policy and everyone does his job. The players who participate do their best.” .
He added, “We have a common goal. We knew that we could not compete in the league, but we have a chance in the Champions League and the Italian Cup. We reached the final in both competitions and we want to finish the season in the highest possible position in the league.”
Inter experts are nominated to win the Italian Cup final against Fiorentina, but Inzaghi admitted that his team is outside the nominations in the Champions League final, as he is looking to end a 13-year wait to win the championship, which he won the title 3 previous times.
Inzaghi concluded, “It is normal when you meet Manchester City or Real Madrid to be the least nominated party. But football is always open to all possibilities.”