Simone Inzaghi has Inter in the Champions League Final and the Coppa Italia Final after eliminating Milan, so takes the opportunity to hit back at his critics. ‘I know who was there and who wasn’t in my moment of need.’

The Nerazzurri already had a 2-0 first leg lead to rely on and ran one huge risk with Rafael Leao’s angled drive, but Lautaro Martinez made it an emphatic 3-0 victory on aggregate, 1-0 on the night from substitute Romelu Lukaku’s assist.

Inter are in the Champions League Final after 13 years, the first since celebrating the incredible Treble with Jose Mourinho at the helm.

They will face either Manchester City or Real Madrid in Istanbul on June 10, which will be their sixth Final, having won three and lost two.

“In the next few days we might realise what happened. It was a dream at the start, but we always believed, had an extraordinary run and to win the semi-final in a derby this way is immensely satisfying. We can only praise the lads,” Inzaghi told Sport Mediaset.

They lost the Scudetto to their city rivals last season, but showed superiority in 2023 with four consecutive victories – all with clean sheets – between Serie A, the Supercoppa Italiana and Champions League.

“They showed strength, determination, aggression, concentration, they were wonderful. We played four derbies since January and won all four, we know Milan are the Champions of Italy and have huge quality, but the players were excellent and deserve to enjoy this evening.”

Inzaghi has proved his worth in Cup competitions, winning the Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana last season, the Supercoppa again this term and reaching the Finals of the Coppa Italia and Champions League.

“I had said a long while back we would put in a crazy effort without looking at one competition or the other, just trying to achieve our best. Since April 1 we have been playing every 48-72 hours, but we reached two finals and got things back on track in Serie A.”

Would Inzaghi prefer to face Real Madrid or Manchester City in the Istanbul Final?

“They are two of the best teams in Europe. The first leg was balanced, you can see the quality at their disposal. I am happy with what we have achieved and I’ll clearly watch tomorrow’s match with great, great interest.”

The coach has been subjected to some vicious criticism and was reported to be on the verge of dismissal only a month ago, so he has every right to gloat.

“I know who was always there and who was not there in my moment of need. I know what happened over these months, but I am fortunate to have a wonderful staff with me, a team that followed me in everything for 20 months and now there are another two Finals to play, a league with everything still to play for, so we need to see it out like Inter.

“I am proud to be at this club, I know when I was called what had happened to Inter in recent years. I was asked 19 months ago to reach the Champions League Round of 16, which the club hadn’t managed it since 2011. I thought last season’s Champions League run was very good, this one even better. Nobody gave us anything for free, we faced strong opponents and earned our place in the Final.”

Inzaghi took over from Antonio Conte, who walked away when it became clear Inter could not afford to reinforce the squad with big money signings.

While Conte won the Scudetto, he never got past the group stage of the Champions League.

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