Simone Inzaghi has delivered his pre-match assessment of Inter’s Champions League second leg against Porto, claiming referee Szymon Marciniak was right to send him off against Barcelona, whilst also providing an update on Romelu Lukaku and Milan Skriniar.
Inzaghi conducted his press conference alongside Hakan Calhanoglu on Monday evening ahead of Inter’s return leg of their Round of 16 tie against Porto at the Estadio do Dragao on Tuesday evening.
Despite holding a 1-0 advantage heading into the game, Inzaghi recognises that there is still plenty of work left to do.
Inzaghi admitted: “We know we’re facing a quality team. We saw them in the first leg, they’re strong in one-on-one situations. We know Porto’s statistics, the Italians have always suffered in recent years but we have prepared in the best possible way, respecting Porto and above all focussing on ourselves.
“We know it’ll be a very meaningful match, between two teams that have fully deserved to be here after overcoming two very difficult groups. Tomorrow will be a proper showdown”.
“We know that tomorrow we can make a big step and return to the last eight. It hasn’t happened in a long time and we want to go even further. The second leg will be even more stimulating, we will need concentration because we’re up against a team who are used to these sorts of matches”.
The Nerazzurri will want to get back to winning ways after falling to a disappointing 2-1 loss to Spezia in Serie A on Friday evening.
Inter have won only one of their last three games since the last time they faced Porto at the end of February.
Addressing those concerns, Inzaghi said: “When things go wrong you only see the negative aspects.
“In the league, apart from Napoli, we are still in and amongst it. We are second in the league, in the semi-final of the Coppa Italia and have a Round of 16 second leg to play. We have to stick together, but that’s how I see the team.”
Inzaghi was asked about the availability of Lukaku, who bagged Inter’s only goal of the game against Spezia with an 83rd-minute penalty.
“I have doubts that I will get to the bottom of tomorrow. We’ll see tomorrow about the attack, there is also Correa. We’ll see how the situation develops.”
There was also an update on Milan Skriniar, who has not featured for Inter since the first leg against Porto due to an injury he picked up during the game.
“Skriniar has been out for two and a half weeks, today he did his first full group training. I know what he has done to be available for this match. He hasn’t been able to train since the first leg. He’s a high-quality player, but he’s been off for 15 days.”
Inzaghi was also asked whether he was looking forward to another encounter with tomorrow’s referee Marciniak, who refereed the World Cup final between Argentina and France in Qatar.
Inzaghi replied: “Absolutely yes, in Barcelona he had a great match, he correctly sent me off when we failed to grab the winner whilst it was 3-3 and we were on top. He had a great game and I’m sure he will again tomorrow.”
The second leg will kick off at 20.00 GMT at the Estadio do Dragao.