ROME: October 16 has been circled in Inter Milan coach Simone Inzaghi’s schedule for months. This is the day he will face his former club Lazio for the first time as an opposing manager.
The 45-year-old ended his 22-year-old affiliation with the Roman club during the tight season after winning trophies there as a player, youth team coach and first team manager.
He led the club to Coppa Italia glory, two Italian Super Cups and the knockout stage of the Champions League for five years at the helm, although the manner of his exit proved painful. .
Inzaghi called it “one of the most complicated decisions of my life” but some fans felt betrayed by his decision to refuse a contract extension in favor of Antonio Conte’s succession at Inter.
After leaving, Inzaghi swore to Lazio fans: “I will come under the Curva Nord to greet you all. I don’t mind there being whistles or applause, I will accept anything.”
A choreography is planned to celebrate Inzaghi’s return, but opinions are mixed among fans on how to react.
The Inter coach knows Lazio players very well, having forged close ties with the squad ahead of his departure to be replaced by Maurizio Sarri.
“Inzaghi was a friend, a father to all of us,” Lazio midfielder Luis Alberto said.
Lazio’s difficulties in adjusting Inzaghi to Sarri’s style of play were exposed ahead of the international break with a 3-0 loss to Bologna.
But victories against AS Roma and Lokomotiv Moscow before the setback hinted that progress was slowly being made.
“Sarri has a different (Inzaghi), stronger personality,” Alberto said.
“He has a great idea of the game, which we saw (in his spells) in Napoli and Empoli. I think in two or three months Lazio will be very entertaining. “
Sarri is looking to become the first manager to beat Inter this season and close the gap between the Romans, sixth and third, to three points.
Inzaghi may need to be inventive with his squad selection as Argentina strikers Lautaro Martinez and Joaquin Correa – the latter also returning to Lazio for the first time since a late-season move – are in doubt as they do not come back from the international break until late. Friday.
AS Roma coach Jose Mourinho will travel to Turin on Sunday to face Massimiliano Allegri’s Juventus.
Juve bounced back from a poor start to the season with three straight league wins before the break, and they would fall back one point from fourth-placed Roma with a win.
The capital club have started superbly under Mourinho but have recently had a more inconsistent run, with two wins and two losses in their last four games.
AC Milan host AC Milan second Hellas Verona on Saturday before Napoli leaders look to continue their perfect home start against mid-table Turin on Sunday when Atalanta came down will return to Empoli. Fiorentina, fifth, will travel to Venice on Monday. – Reuters