Inter Milan vs Atletico Madrid: Inzaghi admits to being wary of unpredictable Simeone

Inzaghi is wary of unpredictable Simeone before Tuesday's Champions League clash between Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid (Credit: Andrea Rosito/ZUMA Wire)

Inter Milan vs Atletico Madrid: Inzaghi admits to being wary of unpredictable Simeone

Seye Omidiora 21:19 - 19.02.2024

Inter head coach Simone Inzaghi does not know what to expect from Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid in Tuesday’s Champions League match at San Siro.

Inter Milan head coach Simone Inzaghi has discussed his Atletico Madrid uncertainty before both sides battle in Tuesday’s Champions League round of 16 first leg at San Siro.

The Nerazzurri boss, who was teammates with Atletico boss Diego Simeone in Lazio’s Serie A success in 1999/20, is wary of Los Colchoneros’ adeptness at playing in different ways.

Inter Milan vs Atletico Madrid

Both sides face off in one of the enticing ties of the Champions League’s first knockout round, with Inzaghi’s table-topping side in Serie A going head-to-head with Simeone’s men, who may not be leading in LaLiga but are an outsider for a deep continental run.

The Spanish side have impressed in Europe despite the broader domestic inconsistency, with Atletico going unbeaten in the group stage after four wins and two draws, ending atop Group E. Despite being known for their defensive astuteness for most of Simeone’s time in charge, the Madrid-based club netted 17 times in the competition’s opening six games, with only Manchester City (18) scoring more.

The LaLiga side’s adeptness in switching from defensive football to an attacking approach puts Inzaghi on his guard ahead of a touchline battle with his former Lazio teammate on Tuesday night.

Simone Inzaghi
Simone Inzaghi has performed admirably since taking over at Inter

Inzaghi anticipating a challenging encounter against Atletico

The Inter boss spoke in a press conference before the tie’s first clash in Milan, pointing to the Spanish side’s unpredictable and ever-changing strategies.

“Tomorrow evening, we’ll face an opponent of absolute value, a quality team,” said Inzaghi on Monday.

“In the last few games, Atletico have changed 22-23 players and their level hasn’t dropped. They’re an excellent team, coached very well by Diego, it’ll be a very complicated tie for us, but we’ll play great.

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“Predicting what’ll happen tomorrow night isn’t easy, seeing as Atletico have changed a lot in the last few games. I saw the game against Las Palmas, and they were very aggressive. In the Super Cup, they didn’t have the same attitude. In the penultimate game in Seville, they were different again.

“They’re a team that dribbles a lot more than in the past, they have a lot of technique and excellent quality players. I’m not sure what the match will be like, we know that we’re facing a great team with a coach who has given a great mentality.”

Inzaghi looking forward to Simeone reunion

Speaking further, Inzaghi extolled the Atletico boss, a teammate in Lazio’s 2000 Scudetto-winning season, as both men helped the capital club clinch their second Serie A success, praising his opposite number for the success over 13 years in Madrid.

Simone Inzaghi
Simone Inzaghi and Diego Simeone after winning Lazio's second Serie A title in 2000 (Credit: Imago/Buzzi)

“Certainly, tomorrow it’ll be a pleasure to see Diego again as an opponent. He was a great teammate, we won in Rome at Lazio, and then he went to Atletico, but we never lost sight of each other,” the Inter boss remarked.

“It was clear that he would become a great coach, just look at what he did in 13 years at Atletico Madrid.  He won a lot and, beyond the impact he gives to his teams, I saw Atletico play, it’s a pleasure to watch him play.”

The teams battle at San Siro on Tuesday to gain an advantage before the reverse fixture at Cívitas Metropolitano on March 13.