Champions League: Simone Inzaghi wants continued focus from Inter after first-leg win

Inter Milan head coach Simone Inzaghi demands that his side repeat their excellent performance in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final with AC Milan.

The Nerazzurri took control of the Derby della Madonnina tie thanks to a 2-0 win on Wednesday night. Edin Dzeko opened the scoring after just eight minutes, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan doubling their advantage just minutes later.

Inter frequently caused problems for their neighbours as Milan struggled to make an impact. With Simone Inzaghi’s side boasting “home” advantage next week, Inter will be confident of reaching their first Champions League final since 2010.

Unsurprisingly, their coach was pleased with his side’s performance. But Inzaghi knows that the job is far from finished.

“I’m over the moon,” said a happy Inzaghi, via the club website. “However, we’re all aware that while we played great today, we’ve still got next Tuesday’s game. We’re still 90-plus minutes away from making Istanbul.

“We know how good Milan are and we’ll need to be on high alert in the second leg.”

Simone Inzaghi then praised his side for how they managed the pressure of a Champions League semi-final.

“The lads were phenomenal in this regard [their focus]. I said before the match that we needed big hearts and strong heads and they delivered.

“The lads played fantastically. We know that it’s just the first leg and that we’ve got to be smart and deal with Saturday’s game against Sassuolo. Then the second leg is in six days’ time.

“We’ll enjoy this win, but we’ll need to replicate this performance if we’re to make it to Istanbul.”

Meanwhile, AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli maintains hope of making a comeback.

Milan boss still believes as Inter and Simone Inzaghi take big step to Champions League final

Speaking to Amazon Prime, Pioli took solace from his side’s improved second half showing. Unfortunately, though, Milan’s disastrous first 45 minutes had proved a significant setback.

“We had chances in the second half. So naturally in the second leg, we need more quality and a more aggressive attitude,” said the Milan manager, via Football Italia. “We need to raise the bar and play from the start with something closer to the second half performance.

“The lads are disappointed. But they know we still have a chance to turn it around.”

Pioli also briefly explained what he felt went wrong with his side that resulted in a 2-0 deficit.

“We intended to be compact, intense, and aggressive. But Inter were better in lots of 50-50 situations and that helped them control the game. They also did well to convert those two early chances which made it difficult for us on a tactical and mental level.”

Milan bemoaned the absence of Rafael Leao. With the Portuguese international sidelined through injury, the Rossoneri mustered just two shots on target. They thus have an uphill battle if they want to reach the final in Istanbul.

In contrast, Simone Inzaghi and Inter Milan are tantalizingly close to reaching a Champions League final.

Inter have boasted an advantage heading into the second leg of each of their knockout ties in 2022/23. And, currently, they are yet to surrender any lead they have taken from the first game. They will, therefore, hope to keep this streak going on Tuesday.

Featured image credit: Getty