Sunday February 16 2020
Inzaghi: 'Confident Lazio would beat Inter'

Simone Inzaghi assured Lazio are not feeling the pressure now they are second to Juventus and were “always confident” they’d turn it around to beat Inter.

The Biancocelesti fought back from an Ashley Young opener to win 2-1 on the night with Ciro Immobile’s penalty and a Sergej Milinkovic-Savic strike.

It means their club record unbeaten run is extended to 19 rounds, stretching back to defeat with Inter in September, and they leapfrog the Nerazzurri into second place, just one point off leaders Juventus.

“Naturally, I knew that Manuel Lazzari and Tucu Correa would be two very good options to come off the bench,” the coach told Sky Sport Italia.

“We played very well against a strong side that had lost only one of the first 24 rounds this season. We are keeping up a remarkable tempo, we played a great game tonight and were so convinced that we’d win that we allowed a few avoidable Inter counter-attacks in the first half.

“At the break, I told the lads that if we continued to play like that with a pinch more quality in the final ball, we could turn this around and win the game.

“Inevitably, a lack of pressure is a great help, but I saw the lads a little anxious in training this morning and told them not to worry, as they just had to do what we prepared in training and it’d be fine.”

Lazio are not new to success, as they won the Coppa Italia in May and beat Juventus for the Italian Super Cup in December.

“It has been a constant growth process over the last four years, we’re up there and must realise every weekend that Serie A holds many hidden dangers.”

Inter scored with Ashley Young on an Antonio Candreva snapshot, but Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez were kept relatively quiet.

“Lukaku and Lautaro have caused problems for everyone. We prepared some preventative marking, keeping Lucas Leiva in position to provide a shield for the defence, while Luiz Felipe and Francesco Acerbi did so well to press the strikers and ensure they had less impact than in other games.”

It had been reported Inzaghi would start Joaquin Correa, but instead he opted for Felipe Caicedo again.

“I watch the training sessions very carefully. Correa is coming back, he had a calf injury, I had a doubt yesterday and tried Correa, but I decided this morning without problems that it was good game for Caicedo.

“Before the injury, Correa was impossible to catch. If he can prove to me during this week that he is 100 per cent fit, he’ll probably start the next match.”

Milinkovic-Savic was comfortably Man of the Match and not just because he scored the winning goal.

“There are great expectations around Sergej. I ask him for a lot of quantity as well as quality, he has to work hard for the team and I’ll be honest, he has never complained about that. He is a very important player for us and does so much both in attack and defence.

“We were missing our captain, Senad Lulic, who usually always steps up for these games, but Jony and Adam Marusic filled in admirably. Before highlighting individuals, we should talk about this wonderful group.

“Even with injuries or suspensions, we have always been able to put out a strong, balanced and organised team with a precise identity that does not change.

“We’ve been working together for four years, there’s a wonderful rapport between us. Last season, people said oh Lazio finished eighth, but I told them we won the Coppa Italia and had put all our focus into that during the final months.”

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