Legendary coach Arrigo Sacchi analysed the upcoming Champions League final between Inter and Manchester City, explaining how Simone Inzaghi’s side can find glory in Istanbul.
The two sides will face off at the Ataturk Stadium on June 10, a match that could change the fortunes of either club. Inter last lifted the trophy in 2010 and a win would confirm their rise back to the elite of European football, whilst Manchester City are fighting to win the competition for the first time, hungry for revenge after losing the final to Chelsea in 2021.
Manchester City are widely perceived to be the favourites for the final, but Inter are hoping to spoil their Treble party in Istanbul. Both clubs won their respective domestic cups in recent months, setting up a tense but thrilling clash on June 10.
Speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Sacchi was first asked how Inter could stop Manchester City star Erling Haaland, who has scored 52 goals in 52 games this season.
“It would take a shotgun… Joking aside, you have to take into account the fact that City play with two wingers and a centre forward, and De Bruyne who often comes close to them, while Inter have a five-man defence, consisting of two wing backs and three centre-backs.
“This means that the Nerazzurri will often be outnumbered in the middle of the pitch.”
He explained why the Milanese club would be outnumbered when dealing with Manchester City’s attack.
“It’s simple. The two wing-backs will take care of Guardiola’s two wingers, while Haaland alone will have three central defenders.
“This means that, if one of the three doesn’t shorten on De Bruyne or on the mezzala who cuts in, City will have one or two more men in the middle of the pitch where they can do the usual possession-ball.
“In practice, with the 5-3-2, because Simone Inzaghi’s defence is five and not three, you lose elements when building or pressing high.”
The former coach touched on how Inter could look to solve this problem.
“Inter, however, do little pressing. I think they will set up a game based on defensive attention and quick counter attacks.”
Sacchi commented on how Inter could find victory in Istanbul.
“There is no winning formation to beat the opponent. You simply have to have strong motivation, a high team spirit and a game that enhances the qualities of the collective and the individual.
“Inter, who do counter-attacks very well, must focus on this weapon and must frighten the English with these accelerations, so that they also get a bit scared and are not free to play as they want.”
Finally, Sacchi discussed how Inter need to approach the match and take the challenge to Manchester City.
“If Inter were able to organise a well-crafted pressing, Guardiola’s wingers and centre forward wouldn’t get so many chances. If, on the other hand, you leave possession to City, then Haaland will receive a lot of chances and that’s very unforgiving.
“A lot of work would have to be done with ‘building’ in midfield and defence. Haaland is very good at attacking spaces. This season, Guardiola’s team has returned to moving without the ball as the manual of total football teaches.
“Staying for 90 minutes at the back against these phenomena can be risky because sooner or later they always find a way to score.”