Materazzi: Inter can take inspiration from 2010 heroics against Barcelona

Date:5th September 2018 at 2:35pm
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With Inter having been paired with Barcelona in the Champions League once more, it brought back vivid memories of their meetings in the 2009/10 season for Marco Materazzi.

That year, the Blaugrana drew with Inter in Milan before beating them at the Camp Nou in the group stage but when they met in the semi-final, the Nerazzurri pulled off a two-legged win to reach the final.

They went on to defeat Bayern Munich to take the title that year and ‘Matrix’ sat down with La Gazzetta dello Sport to recall those memorable games against Barcelona and what lessons Luciano Spalletti can perhaps learn from them.

“In the group stage, we lost 2-0 in Barcelona, and in the summer we had been beaten by Chelsea in a friendly and among ourselves in the dressing room we wondered if we were really up to winning those games,” he said.

“But in the semi-final, we beat Barcelona’s team of extra-terrestrials. In the first leg at San Siro, we went 1-0 down but that group was willing to do anything we had to do to win and we proved that.

“We had to deal with Thiago Motta’s red card but [Jose] Mourinho changed the game. He told us, ‘lads, in training we always defend six on four or seven on four but this is only 10 against 11 so they won’t be able to score goals’.

“In the end, they only managed to get one from a defender [Gerard Pique]. It takes a great deal of awareness in your own abilities and a bit of madness to win those games but Inter can do it.

“We will be facing two well-worn teams in Barcelona and Tottenham who are used to playing at a high level. Spurs have changed a little and Barcelona a lot, although they do still have [Lionel] Messi but Spalletti has [Radja] Nainggolan.”

Materazzi also wanted to look at Juventus’ group, which sees them come up against Manchester United and Mourinho, a man he always had a special affection for, and was keen to offer some perspective on his ‘crisis’ at Old Trafford.

“I’d like to be a fly on the wall in the dressing room at Old Trafford for that game [against Juventus] but I really don’t know how that match will end, even if Juve will have no difficulty getting through that group,” he added.

“They are saying that Jose is in crisis but the truth is that aside from [David] De Gea, [Jesse] Lingard, [Paul] Pogba and [Romelu] Lukaku, they don’t have any top level players, even though he always gets the best of those even on the bench.”