Inzaghi: "We're back with a hunger to win"


CEO Sport Giuseppe Marotta and the Nerazzurri's head coach in today's press conference to start the 2022/23 season

MILAN - Today at Inter HQ, a press conference was held to present the 2022/23 season. The event was opened by a few words from CEO Sport Giuseppe Marotta:

“Today, symbolically, we’re on the cusp of a new season. Before discussing the present and future, I would like to make a brief round-up of the season just gone, which was bittersweet for us. We won two trophies but came second in the league. Last season, we showed that the difference between winning and not winning is minimal.

Now, I would like to make mention of President Zhang and I wish everyone a good season to come. This season begins with a big announcement, the renewal of our head coach. This is the fruit of a good relationship, which was built last year, after a busy summer, but which has brought a lot of satisfaction to the Club, owners and fans. One might say that it was the physiological renewal of a coach, who has shown that he is of Inter’s calibre and has all of the skills necessary to stay here for a long time and to be one of the very best tacticians around.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my colleagues Piero Ausilio and Dario Baccin because they are working hard to build a competitive squad. The bar in football is always set very high and you need to be courageous enough to win and not be afraid of losing. We’re back intending to win titles, knowing that we have already shown that we can compete. We shouldn’t let ourselves deviate from the word that has become somewhat overused this summer and after the pandemic: financial stability. Sustainability is vital and we three especially have a plan to follow and an objective to be achieved, as has Alessandro Antonello in our corporate department, who I would also like to think, along with all of the people that work behind the scenes at the Club. Sustainability, however, does not mean that we won’t be competitive because you can get creative in the transfer market. We’re into the fifth or sixth day of the transfer window and we still have two more months, even though an abnormal season is fast approaching. In the first part of the season, we have 20 games – 14 in Serie A and six in the Champions League. The workload for the coach and staff will be difficult; we’ve never had a season like this in football before.

On the topic of transfers: we wanted to give the coach a competitive squad and our work done so far is proof of that promise. I also want to thank the fans, who have always supported us and are the backbone of this Club. We aim to add to our trophy cabinet. The two titles won last season are not only due to economic investment, but also a culture of hard work and a sense of belonging – two principles which can take us to the top.”

After CEO Sport Giuseppe Marotta had his say, it was the turn of Inter head coach Simone Inzaghi, who answered the questions of the journalists present:

An atypical season is about to begin, how will you approach it?

“This year will be an odd one because we have 20 games in the space of three months and then the league stops for 50 days. It will be a new challenge for everyone and we’re already looking into how to approach it. We’ll prepare in those 50 days but it’ll be a new situation for every coach.”

Can you tell us about your telephone calls, and when were you told about the chance of him joining?

“A good relationship with him began last year and then we got the chance to bring him back this summer. This is a huge signing for us, even though we had the best attack last season. Romelu is strong, he has goals in his game and will give us a new solution. But I am not forgetting about the players, who performed last season. They allowed us to win those two titles, even if there is some regret at not winning the Scudetto with 84 points. We go again with a lot of enthusiasm, in the hope that this year is a good one.”

What are the aims?

“Win. We know what happened in the transfer window last season; the Club’s managers were brilliant. With the staff, we rolled our sleeves up and worked hard from day one. We played great football and people were saying that Inter were favourites, even though that wasn’t the case in July. This year, we’re starting from behind AC Milan but we – along with five or six other teams – will fight until the very end. We know that it will be hard but we want to compete like we did last year.”

Should Skriniar leave, will that cause problems in defence?

“We know who our directors are and what they’ve done in the last year and a half. Skriniar is an Inter player right now, one that had a brilliant campaign last season and he will come with us to our training camp. Then we’ll see what happens. We’re in constant contact with the Club.”

Where would you like to raise the bar from last season?

“Raising the bar would mean winning the treble, which we missed out on last season by just two points. I still got a lot of satisfaction from last season: seeing the whole stadium cheering after the final game and the boys in tears because, even though they won two titles, they wanted the third. This year, we will go for it again, and will need our fans who have always supported us and will be there for this next journey, which starts on 13 August in Lecce.”

Who will be first-choice goalkeeper?

“Handanovic will start in goal because he earned it after a great season. We all know what Onana can do: he is young, he is the future and he will get his chance this year. We believe in him.”

What will you be saying in 12 months?

“I hope to be telling you that things went to plan. Last year, I had a lot of hope and desire to do well. This year has given me a lot of satisfaction: trophies, reaching the Round of 16 in the Champions League. But what has stuck with me is the chemistry with the fans. The final day comes to mind, as well as the Coppa Italia final. These memories will stay with me forever.”

Will the eventual arrival of Dybala be an extra boost?

“We know Dybala well. He has a lot of quality but we have six forwards in the squad, the four we have mentioned and Pinamonti, who has a bright future, and Sanchez. So it’s not right for me to talk about other players right now.”

What were your feelings after renewing?

“I was really pleased. I have a great relationship with the Club’s management and President. We want the best for Inter and we’re all going in the same direction. I have a lot of people helping me to organize everything as best possible and I thank them for that.”

Is there a player that will surprise us this year?

“There isn’t one single name that springs to mind. They all did what I asked of them last season; we had 52 high-intensity games and we played well in that round of 16 game, even though it cost us a lot. I would do it all again.”

Is there something that you think needs to be improved?

“Last season, we wanted to get to the round of 16 for the first time in eleven years. You can always do more but the English teams are virtually unbeatable right now, but we gave Liverpool a good game.”

Are there alternatives to the 3-5-2?

“We’ll try some new systems in pre-season but I like this formation and I have the perfect players to fit this system. We have a lot of options and we saw last season – for example in the Coppa Italia Round of 16 against Empoli – how this can change games. There’s been a lot of talk about Lukaku and Onana but the Club has also gone out and got two talented young players, not to mention Mkhitaryan, who I have always liked and who will help us kick on as a team.”

It’s important for you to play to the max in every competition: is this team more complete?

“The Club has made some brilliant moves. We now need to cover for Ranocchia’s departure and we are working on that. The aim this year is to have a core squad of 20 outfield players, two for each role, who are of a good level because we’ll need to alternate a lot with 20 games from matchday 1 until November. Then we have three goalkeepers. We also want to bring in three players from the Primavera because our Youth System is producing a lot of talent. We’ll have Valentin Carboni and we also want to bring in Casadei, who we have a lot of faith in. Zanotti made his debut last year and I hope a few others can make their debits this season too. I know that it’s tough to break through at Inter but I hope to be able to do it with a few others because we value our young players.”

With Lukaku, Inter played on the break a lot. How will you get the best out of him?

“It’s too soon to say but I have some ideas. Last year, we alternated between recovering the ball high up the pitch and winning it in deeper areas. It’s clear that Romelu will give us something a bit different. The higher up the pitch you win the ball, the less you have to run to score. We’ll have more solutions with him and our other forwards, who have already done well.”

What impression has Asllani made?

“He’s a young player, who seems older than he is. He knows that there is a player ahead of him, who has done great things at Inter. He’s grown exponentially in the last six months and we have a lot of belief in him.”

Is this transfer window about bringing in options to make more changes in games?

“We’re proud of what we’ve done so far and, this year, we’ll try to improve even more. It won’t be easy but we are Inter and we need to win.”

Is there a different atmosphere now. What would help you calmly raise the bar?

“I’m lucky enough to be able to deal with the pressure. We coaches are under pressure every day – I know what it’s like. I have many responsibilities, which make me better. We know what we’ve done and, this season, we’ll see what happens but we know that we’ve done some great work until now.”

What do you expect from the transfer window? Is Casadei now off the market?

“Casadei went to the U19 Euros. He’s in our squad and then it’s up to the Club to decide. In the press conference last year, it was said that Hakimi would be the only departure but the transfer market is unpredictable. The thing that I can guarantee is that, on 13 August, Inter will be a competitive team with a hunger to win.

Is there a hierarchy among Inter’s forwards?

“I like high-scoring teams. Last season, we had the best attack in the league. This year, we hope that one of our players can win the golden boot.”

Numerically speaking, can we expect there to be four strikers?

“We know that, with the fixture list being so packed, we’ll need a fifth attacker. That will be a young player. Pinamonti is an established player, who has received a lot of offers. We’ll see what happens. He is in the squad for the training camp and he will come with us. But, normally, a fifth striker in the squad is a young player.

How would the arrival of Bremer be possible?

“I won’t be discussing players of other teams.”

Have you spoken with Dzeko following the arrival of Lukaku?

“We spoke after the international break about how he feels. We know how important he was last year. He did well, scored 30 goals and will be an extra weapon for us again.”

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