Inter Milan manager Simone Inzaghi admitted his side will be underdogs in the Champions League final against either Manchester City or Real Madrid after Tuesday’s 3-0 semi-final win over AC Milan.
Inter beat their opponents in last week’s 2-0 first leg win at the San Siro thanks to Lautaro Martinez’s 74th-minute goal.
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When asked if he would prefer to face City or Madrid in the final, who played the second leg of their last-four tie on Wednesday, Inzaghi kept his cards close to his chest.
“It’s normal that when you face City or Real you start as underdogs, but football is always open: we met Real Madrid last year and we lost two matches, but played well. Manchester City need no introduction: we’ll see. And whoever will come. Will come.”
Man City and Madrid drew 1-1 after the first leg in Spain last week.
“Whoever we end up with, we will be, unfortunately, because they are two really great teams with incredible quality,” Inzaghi said with a wry smile. “I will watch tomorrow’s match, as I watched the first leg. … Of course we will follow it closely.”
A month ago, Inzaghi faced criticism and was under pressure after a poor run of results, yet his side have turned it around and Tuesday’s win was their eighth in a row in all competitions.
“In the beginning it was a dream, but we always believed, we had a great run and it’s very satisfying to win the semi-final in the derby. We can only praise the boys,” Inzaghi told Sport Mediaset.
Inter are third in Serie A and will face Fiorentina in the Coppa Italia final on May 24.
Their return to form has been built on a solid defence, keeping six clean sheets in their current winning streak and conceding just three goals.
“I said a long time ago that we will make a mad effort without looking at one competition or another, just try to achieve our best,” he said.
Inzaghi celebrates his side’s victory over Milan, their fourth consecutive win against their city rivals.
Milan have not lost four in a single campaign against Inter since the 1973-74 season.
“They showed strength, determination, aggression, concentration, they were great,” he said. “We’ve played four derbies since January and won all four, we know Milan are champions of Italy and have huge standards, but the players were fantastic and deserved to enjoy this evening.”
Before their two semi-final wins, Inter beat Milan 3-0 to win the Italian Super Cup in January and won Serie A 1-0 the following month.
Inzaghi said Serie A was now the primary focus for his players, who face newly crowned champions Napoli on Sunday.
“I gave the players tomorrow off because we haven’t had it since April 1. It was deserved. We’ll meet again from Thursday because we have to prepare for a league match in Naples.”
The Champions League final will be played at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul on June 10.
This report uses information from The Associated Press.