fbpx Skip to main content

Inter Milan manager Simone Inzaghi has spoken of his admiration for Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone ahead of their maiden meeting as coaches.

The duo shared a dressing room at Lazio and helped the Rome club win Serie A in 2000 during a trophy-laden era under Sven-Goran Eriksson.

Tuesday will see the pair do battle in the dugout as Inter host Atletico in the first leg of a Champions League last-16 tie at the San Siro.

“It will be a pleasure to see him again,” Inzaghi told a press conference.

“He was a great team-mate. Then he went back to Spain, but we always kept in touch.

“I’ve always known he would become a great coach. He’s been 13 years with the same club and he has won a lot.

“I know how difficult it is to stay with the same club for so many years. He had great results with Atletico. He has great charisma but that’s not it, his team play great football.”

Simeone has traditionally been associated with pragmatic, defensive football during his successful period in Madrid and while Atletico have lost ground in the LaLiga title race in recent weeks, they are in the last four of the Copa del Rey.

Inzaghi revealed he had closely analysed Atletico’s last four fixtures, which includes a 5-0 thrashing of Las Palmas, defeats to Sevilla and Athletic Bilbao and a draw at Real Madrid, but knows it will be hard to predict what type of fixture will occur on Tuesday night.

He added: “Each coach has their own approach. I appreciate him a lot.

“I watched Atletico this year and I can only say they play great football but I cannot tell you what type of game it will be tomorrow because both teams will fight for it.

“Atletico have changed style, they were very aggressive in the last game they played but against Real Madrid they had a different attitude. They pass the ball a lot more than before.

“We will do our best tomorrow. There will be a great atmosphere, we are looking forward to playing this game and as usual playing our type of football.”

Inter enter this fixture in a rich vein of form and having won all eight matches in 2024.

Recent league successes over Roma and Juventus have helped open up a nine-point advantage at the Serie A summit, but Inzaghi does not feel that will impact their Champions League campaign.

Inzaghi’s team were runners-up to Manchester City last season and have already secured silverware this term with Super Cup success last month.

“Having this advantage doesn’t really give us an extra advantage in the Champions League,” Inzaghi said.

“We have experienced magic nights together with our supporters and we want a repeat but we know that other clubs have the same ambitions as Inter.

“I saw Atletico in the last four games and they are always strong. We will do our best tomorrow.”

Francesco Acerbi, Stefan Sensi and Juan Cuadrado are unavailable for Inter.