Written By Onyeka Daniel
Italian side, Inter Milan is one of the most in-form teams in Europe top 5 Leagues at the moment as the Nerazzurri have been able to get good results both in the domestic League and also in Europe, in the UEFA Champions League. The Nerazzurri completed the double over Austrian champions, RB Salzburg in back-to-back Champions League fixtures.
They have now secured qualification to the competition’s Round of 16 with two matches to spare after collecting 10 points from four fixtures. They also sealed their place in the World Club Cup set to hold in 2025 and these results hasn’t gone unnoticed.
Recently, Manchester City manager, Pep Guardiola praised the work done by their manager, Simone Inzaghi, whom he faced in the final of last season’s UCL, where the Nerazzurri gave a good account of themselves against City despite losing.
Joining the list of people that have are praising the former Lazio manager is one of the club’s legend. Legendary Inter Milan goalkeeper Julio Cesar has heaped praises on Inzaghi for his match management against RB Salzburg in the UCL, unlike Arrigo Sacchi who has been very critical of the Inter manager.
Despite needing a win to qualify, Inzaghi opted for squad rotation, giving the likes of Yann Bisseck, Alexis Sanchez and Carlos Augusto a place in the starting lineup while star players like Lautaro Martinez, Nicolo Barella and Federico Dimarco were on the bench. Neither side was able to score in the first half, but Inzaghi’s substitutions eventually made the difference.
Barella’s shot struck the hand of an opponent inside the box, so the match official pointed towards the spot. Inter captain Martinez converted the penalty kick which proved to be the solitary goal of the encounter. Therefore, Julio Cesar credits Inzaghi for his smart management and decisive changes.
“Inzaghi changed the style of play with two or three substitutions,” noted the Nerazzurri treble hero during his appearance on Amazon Prime. “Lautaro has shown why he is an elemental player for Inter. The same goes for Barella. “Inter cannot depend only on the two of them. Dimarco also makes a difference.
The 44-year-old also reserved some words of praise for Inter goalkeeper Yann Sommer. The Swiss remained alert to the danger. “The goalkeeper must never be distracted. Sommer pulled off a difficult save. “He didn’t have much to do during the match but he must be ready when his services are required.
He certainly did so against Salzburg.” He further added. It should be noted that no other goalkeeper in Europe’s top 5 leagues has kept more clean sheets in all competitions than Sommer (15 games, 9 clean sheet and 8 goals conceded) after the win over Salzburg.
Inter owner Steven Zhang was overjoyed with his team’s successful Champions League group stage and has paid the players their first bonus of the season. The Nerazzurri have been almost flawless in Europe this term, winning three of their four games to secure their spot in the Round of 16 of the competition.
Two wins over RB Salzburg, victory over Benfica and a draw with Real Sociedad were enough to take Simone Inzaghi’s side forward. Whilst Inter were fortunate at points in the Champions League this term, Inzaghi has also been rewarded for his decision to rotate the squad for the group, allowing players to stay fresh in the Scudetto race.
According to a report from Gazzetta dello Sports, Zhang phoned the Inter squad after their win over RB Salzburg to congratulate them for qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions League. He also rewarded his players, paying out a €2m bonus for the first major success of the season. Inzaghi’s side can now switch focus to the title race, having just a two-point lead over second place Juventus.
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