Simone Inzaghi expressed his gratitude towards his Inter team for their remarkable performance in the 2-0 win over Benfica in the Champions League quarter-finals and chose not to rub it in the faces of the critics who had doubted his team
Despite being under immense pressure going into the match, having only managed one win in his last eight competitive fixtures, Inter delivered a strong performance on the European stage.
Inter defeated Benfica 2-0 at the Estadio da Luz, with Nicolò Barella scoring a rare header. Romelu Lukaku then converted a penalty to make it 2-0. Benfica, who were previously unbeaten in the Champions League this season, failed to truly test Andre Onana.
Inzaghi hailed Inter’s determination in 2-0 victory
“It was a great performance with hard work, running, determination. We enjoy this evening, but also know it is only the first 90 minutes. We did very well in both phases, allowing Benfica very little. The lads were extraordinary, but the second leg cannot be taken for granted,” Inzaghi told Sky Sport Italia.
“Let’s not forget that we had three games without winning, but we deserved more on the field. It meant we had to do more. We did that today and it’s a wonderful evening, but the tie will be decided next week.”
Inter’s strong performances in high-profile games raise concerns about their inconsistency in matches against mid-table teams, and their inability to replicate the same level of attitude and determination.
“I don’t think we should forget this is our third away match in six games. with many players who were coming off international duty. It’s not an excuse. but these lads are really gritting their teeth to get through and only Inter have this tough a fixture list.”
Dzeko’s eagerness to celebrate Lukaku’s penalty by rushing off the bench earned him a yellow card, but it demonstrated the strong sense of unity within the Inter team.
“That is normal in football, you must always be united. In these 18 months you’ve never heard me complain about the effort of these players. We are still in three tournaments and have to keep going.”
Inzaghi must be feeling a sense of achievement as his team is on the brink of a Champions League semi-final, especially after facing criticism and calls for his dismissal in the past few weeks.
“I am satisfied for my players, because they always worked like crazy for me. Criticism is fine, I am polite enough to listen, check where it comes from and go forward.”