Inter coach Simone Inzaghi knows the importance of his first Derby della Madonnina against AC Milan. The two Milanese giants face off in Serie A at the Stadio San Siro at 20:45 CET on Sunday evening.
Having spent a long time at Lazio before making the move north to Inter in the summer, Inzaghi is no stranger to important derby matches, and he knows that things can play out differently to how they are expected to.
“Derbies are separate matches, compared to the rest of the season,” Inzaghi said at his pre-match press conference on Saturday. “They’re two games that stand alone.
“This is my first here in Milan, and I can see a lot of desire and enthusiasm, even with it coming after a Champions League match. I’ve seen the right attitude.
“We’re doing very good things, the numbers show that. But we have to congratulate Milan and Napoli for what they’ve done.
“A win on Sunday would be a big boost for us, but we know that we all have to suffer and fight together.”
Hakan Calhanoglu left Milan for Inter on a free transfer over the summer, and a lot of people have been playing extra attention to the Turk ahead of Sunday’s derby. But Inzaghi refused to confirm whether or not he would even play.
“We still have some training sessions to do,” Inzaghi said, asked if Calhanoglu would start. “I’m lucky to have a lot of options in midfield.
“Calhanoglu was excellent against Udinese, and [Arturo] Vidal was fundamental in the Champions League. Against Empoli, [Roberto] Gagliardini did well and [Matias] Vecino always plays well. [Stefano] Sensi is coming back too and deserves a chance.
“I have a great team. There’s a lot of competition here and that’s fine by me.”
Inzaghi will come up against another former Lazio boss on Sunday in Stefano Pioli. The Milan coach has worked wonders with the Rossoneri since taking charge in 2019, and his opposite number singled him out for a bit of praise.
“They don’t give much away,” Inzaghi said of Milan’s defence. “They have an excellent coach, and he’s someone I know very well.
“We’ll have to be attentive. We know that we’re in good form and we can play a great game.”