Simone Inzaghi scoffed at the idea Inter might kill off Milan’s title hopes in Saturday’s derby, as he claimed even Juventus remain in the Scudetto hunt.
A victory for Inter would move them seven points clear of Milan while also having the advantage of a game in hand.
Inzaghi’s Inter will be the home side at the teams’ San Siro stadium.
And the Nerazzurri lead the way at the top of Serie A after losing just one of their opening 22 games.
It would be hard to see Milan returning from defeat to their great rivals, but Inzaghi is not discounting the prospect.
Asked if three points for Inter would count out Milan, Inzaghi said:
“I don’t think so, There are another 15 matches to go, and we all saw what happened in the first half of the season.
“We were seven points behind, drew the derby, and still managed to close the gap.”
Milan made a flying start to the season but was reeled in, with 2021-22 carrying distinct echoes of how the 2020-21 campaign panned out.
Then, Antonio Conte pulled the strings as Inter charged through to capture the title.
And now it is Inzaghi’s turn, with the first Scudetto of his coaching career beckoning.
He triumphed in Serie A as a player with Sven-Goran Eriksson’s double-winning Lazio in 1999-2000 and is not getting ahead of himself this time.
“It’s an important game, and we know how much it means to the fans,” Inzaghi said of derby day. “But there are 45 points and a lot of football to play before we can draw any conclusions.
“I played in lots of derbies, and there’s never a favourite. Tomorrow will be no different: it’s a game that fine margins will win. It will come down to our motivation.”
Inter have lost only one of their last 11 Serie A meetings against Milan.
That defeat was a 2-1 setback in October 2020, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring twice in the opening 16 minutes.
Inter have won six and drawn four of those 11 games, with Milan keeping a clean sheet just once.
Most signs point to Inter giving up no ground to their city rivals this weekend. Their last Serie A home defeat was that 2020 loss to Milan, and they are undefeated in 28 games since in the competition when hosting.
Inzaghi won just three of 10 Serie A games against Milan while serving as head coach at Lazio.
And his Inter side drew 1-1 with Stefano Pioli’s Rossoneri earlier this season.
For obvious reasons, Simone Inzaghi would dearly love a win this time.
Napoli and Milan enter the weekend as Inter’s closest challengers, four points back and playing one game more than Inzaghi’s men.
Simone Inzaghi said the title race was “all still open” despite this position of strength.
Inzaghi told a news conference, according to Inter’s website.
“Besides Milan and Napoli, there’s Atalanta and Juventus, who are outstanding teams.
“Juventus have been doing well in the last two months, and they’ve made some great signings. All of the teams down to Juventus could win the Scudetto.”
Juventus raided Fiorentina last week to sign Dusan Vlahovic, the exciting Serbian forward who hit 33 goals in Serie A in 2021.
That should fortify Massimiliano Allegri’s fifth-placed Bianconeri to push into the Champions League places.
Juve is 11 points off the top, having played 23 games to Inter’s 22. Atalanta is a point better off than Juve, occupying the fourth spot.
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