Simone Inzaghi has praised his Inter players who are “playing less” despite being knocked out of the Coppa Italia just minutes away on Tuesday.
Three minutes before the San Siro, the hosts lost to Serie B side Parma 1-0 before Lautaro Martinez equalized and Francesco Acerbi scored the winning goal in extra time to save his blushes and advance to the quarter-finals.
The irony of Acerbi scoring the winning goal did not escape Inzaghi after the referee ruled out the centre-back’s action against Monza in their previous match, causing consternation among Inter as his whistle meant VAR could not intervene. seemed like a dubious connection.
Inzaghi was not in the mood to dwell on the weekend’s 2-2 Serie A draw, instead praising the players who came to the cup game and finally made it through.
“The whole world saw what happened at Monza, but we were only interested in this game,” said the Nerazzurri coach. “We were doing quite well, even if we needed to move the ball better. Then things got complicated with their goal, but I got an excellent response from those who play less.
“I would like to avoid extra time, but last year also with Empoli [3-2 win after extra time] It was difficult.”
In the 38th minute, Inter showed off a brilliant strike from substitute Stanko Juric and did not have a shot on target until Martinez forced the equalizer in the 88th minute.
In the second half of extra time, Acerbi responded to goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon’s header over the 44-year-old and into the net.
Parma matched their hosts for much of the competition, but Inzaghi claimed he was impressed by his team’s effort.
“Those who played the least gave excellent answers, we have to continue like this,” he added. “In the Champions League we exceeded expectations, in the league we lost points at the start, but there are still many games to play.”
Romelu Lukaku did not feature, but his coach believes the Belgian striker will have much to offer once he can get him back in shape and play regularly.
“It remains fundamental to us,” Inzaghi said. “He had an injury and had trouble managing it. Saturday [v Monza] he had an inflammatory problem. Tomorrow he will continue to rest and then overnight we would like to bring him back to the top. If we could have done it sooner, it would have given us the extra points we are missing.”