Inter boss Inzaghi says tonight’s UCL showdown with AC Milan is biggest in terms of importance it holds for city rivals
Inter Milan’s Romelu Lukaku (left) during a training session in Milan on Monday; (right) AC Milan’s Olivier Giroud (centre) and teammates warm up at the Milanello Sports Center yesterday. Pic/Getty Images
Simone Inzaghi said Tuesday that Inter Milan’s Champions League semi-final with rivals AC Milan is more than just another local derby.
The Milan giants, who between them have been crowned European champions ten times, face off on Wednesday in the biggest match between the two sides in nearly two decades, and Inter coach Inzaghi is well aware of its importance.
It will be the first time the Serie A pair have played each other in Europe’s top club competition after 2005’s so-called “derby of shame”, a quarter-final won by Milan whose second leg was abandoned after livid Inter fans launched a barrage of flares onto the San Siro pitch with their team way behind in the tie.
‘I’m feeling calm’
“It’s not a derby, it’s THE derby,” Inzaghi told reporters. “We know what it means for us, the club, our fans and myself. But I’m feeling calm because I’ve seen that the boys are very concentrated. Over the last 20 months we’ve played seven derbies... we’ve won and we’ve lost.
“Every match is its own story, there will be times when we will be more offensive and times when we will more defensive. Just as we did in the last 16 and quarters we will have to play all together and make sacrifices.”
Inter come into the match on a run of five straight wins and with a previously misfiring attack suddenly banging in the goals.
Inzaghi’s side have scored fourteen goals in that run, ten of which have been netted by the forwards, with Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez both in a hot streak.
“We had a period in which the attackers weren’t having a great time but now thankfully they have started scoring again and that’s what we want,” said Inzaghi.
Meanwhile, Olivier Giroud said on Tuesday that he has a young man’s hunger for European success ahead of AC Milan’s all-Italian Champions League semi-final with Inter Milan.
Giroud ‘hungry’ for success
Veteran France striker Giroud won the competition with Chelsea in 2021 and wants to continue his Indian summer at Milan with another triumph after winning the Serie A title last season.
Milan host local rivals Inter on Wednesday in the first leg of the biggest local derby the Italian city has seen for nearly two decades. “I’m motivated more than ever. For me it’s a big opportunity to win it again. Almost 37 years old, but still hungry like a young boy,” Giroud told reporters.
“In football it’s never good to underestimate the others. I know what I’m talking about. At that level every single game is very tough and it’s on small margins, small details, that you win it.”
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