CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Real Madrid more organized now than under Zidane - Inter coach Inzaghi on Ancelotti, Vinicius...

Inter Milan coach Simone Inzaghi spoke to reporters ahead of his side’s Champions League opener against Real Madrid on Wednesday.

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Do you obsess about the two games that Inter lost to Madrid a year ago?

I think what happened, including the two games against Madrid, was a thing of the past year. It was a great opportunity that got away from us, but tomorrow we start again. The group is difficult, we hope to be able to qualify from the group.

Madrid has more experience at the highest level...

Experience in these types of matches is very important, from the draw we know that the group is not easy. There is Madrid and there are two teams (Shakhtar Donetsk, Sheriff) that will give everything to make things difficult for us. We have returned from the Genoa game, we are going to prepare as best as possible. Madrid have a great coach and a lot of history, and great players … We will have to be strong in defense and attack against Madrid. With Modric they play very well in small spaces. We have to have possession of the ball and do our best so that they run a lot.

Some say you have little experience at this level...

International experience as a coach, in the Europa League, in the Champions League ... I think I have enough experience. I have played almost 50 games. Of course [Carlo] Ancelotti has more experience than me, but tomorrow we will try to prepare for the game as well as possible, playing with the knife between our teeth. Let's hope it's a good day for us. It will be great, for sure, to start the Champions League in front of our fans and in our stadium. We are very happy.

Does Inter have to be in the last 16 whatever happens?

Inter has not reached the Champions League last 16 since 2010. We all want to change that. The objective is to qualify.

Will Alessandro Bastoni make it to the game?

We are going to evaluate Bastoni's situation, he wants to play, yesterday he trained. He will have to increase the level a bit, let's see what answer he gives on the field.

Inzaghi: Ancelotti is one of the best coaches in history

Real Madrid's Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti shouts from the sideline during the Spanish League football match between Real Madrid CF and RC Celta de Vigo at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on September 12, 2021. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)

What is your opinion of Carlo Ancelotti?

He is one of the best coaches in history. He has won many titles. I was able to watch my brother's training sessions with him. It is always a pleasure to talk to him, his teams are very organized. We will have to play a perfect match against them. Vinicius arrives in a great moment of form ... Without a doubt, Vinicius is in a great moment. But if we start thinking about him, [Karim] Benzema or [Eden] Hazard may hurt us more. They are very talented. Of course, Vinicius will be one of the most notable players in the match.

What worries you the most about Madrid?

I am concerned about their organization, first of all. Last year I didn't see that as much as I do now, but with [Zinedine] Zidane they were also a great team, they won many titles in the past. But Carlo always gets his teams playing a nice type of game, with organization in attack. You do not have to give them spaces.

Can the pressure of being in the last 16 affect the team?

I think we don't have to think long term right now, or about the past -- in what was, what wasn’t ... We have the opportunity to write a new page in Inter’s present history. As I said, we are going to have to work in both phases, we cannot only think about not having the ball, but also when we have it.

Handanovic: "This year we will have more determination"

Inter's goalkeeper Samir Handanovic also spoke to the media...

How do you see Madrid this year? Very strong?

Yes, I have seen many Real Madrid games, they are in great shape, they have a very strong trident at the top, but we are going to have to contain them and stop them. We played them last year and we know those players very well.

Were last year's defeats to Madrid a learning experience or have they set a bad precedent?

They have to be encouragement for us. Inter of the past had less experience, now we have more determination. We couldn't qualify in the past few years, other teams were stronger, but that’s the past. We are thinking about this new Champions League season.