Simone Inzaghi reveals he owes the Inter players a gift after the winner against Bologna saw central defenders combine. ‘The lads are doing something extraordinary.’

The Nerazzurri at the very least maintained their 15-point lead at the top of the Serie A table thanks to a 1-0 win at the Stadio Dall’Ara, decided by Yann Bisseck’s diving header on the Alessandro Bastoni cross.

“We are very happy, because we honoured the birthday of Inter with a very important victory,” Inzaghi told DAZN.

“We maintain the gap from those who are following us, we fully deserved the lead in the first half, then Bologna proved why they are in their current position. We started to feel some fatigue and thoughts wandered over to the games that we have coming up.”

It was a very unusual goal to see two central defenders combining for the goal from open play, but this is how Simone Inzaghi adapts the 3-5-2 to be a very attack-minded formation rather than simply a five-man defence in disguise.

“It’s normal to see goals from wing-back to wing-back, but to see a centre-back assist a centre-back is very satisfying for me and my staff. The lads are doing something extraordinary, but we know there are another 10 rounds to go.”

Inzaghi had said a while back that he would take the team out for dinner if they had a central defender setting up a goal for another central defender.

“We must find the time, because these lads have been giving me joy, trophies and victories for so long, I owe them more than one dinner. It’s not easy to find a day where we can all go out together, but we’ll find the time.”

Bologna caused Inter the most problems this season, holding them to a 1-1 draw at San Siro in Serie A and then knocking them out of the Coppa Italia.

“In the first half, we did what we promised, but after the break Bologna stepped up the pressure and we didn’t occupy the space as well as we could’ve done, we misplaced a few passes and all together had to defend deep.

“We don’t usually do it very often, we did it longer tonight than we would’ve liked, but Bologna deserve credit.”

There were a few setbacks today, as Carlos Augusto went off at half-time and Marko Arnautovic pulled up in stoppages with a suspected adductor or hamstring strain.

“I am sorry for Arnautovic, who felt something, Carlos Augusto had an issue with his calf at half-time. We hope they can both be back with us very soon.”

Inter already have three more points than throughout all of last season, so does Inzaghi ever get time to stop and recognise what he is doing?

“Unfortunately, football moves very fast and at Inter it is our duty to be in great shape every 72 hours. We are doing something extraordinary in Serie A, but are not yet sure of achieving our target.

“After 12 wins in 2024, it was not easy to win against a team that had not lost on home turf since August. Sometimes I try to share the joy with my players, sometimes I keep it to myself.”

The next match is the Champions League Round of 16 against Atletico Madrid, hoping to build on the 1-0 first leg victory.

“Atletico are a team who change a great deal when they are at home compared to away. We know the players they have, the kind of coach that Cholo is, so we’ll try to prepare as best we can. The environment in the Wanda Metropolitano will influence, but this is a target we’ve set ourselves, to keep going in the Champions League.

“We know they could adopt a few different tactical options, they rested a few players today. We played in Oporto and Lisbon last season, so we already experienced some pretty fiery atmospheres.”

Finally, Nicolò Barella apologised on DAZN for his reaction to the Morten Frendrup challenge last week, when Genoa incorrectly had a penalty given against them for that challenge.

“Barella deserves credit, it was a lovely gesture. Adrenaline makes you do some bad things sometimes, we coaches are the first to suffer from that, but it’s important to recognise mistakes and make up for them.”

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