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Written By Onyeka Daniel

The result didn’t go according to plan for Inter Milan in the UEFA champions league as they could only manage a 0-0 draw against Real Socieded at the Giuseppe Meazza stadium, condemning them to second place behind the Spanish side in their group. Inter’s group stage is now finished for this season’s edition of the Champions League.

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The Nerazzurri have reached the round of sixteen for the third season in a row. But the team are disappointed by the fact that they have failed to do so from top of their group. Inter are level on points with Real Sociedad in the group standing. But the La Liga side are top of the group by virtue of their superior goal difference. Inter drew their opening match in the group, away to La Real.

They had truthfully been second best for much of that match, but staged a late onslaught and snatched a draw courtesy of a Lautaro Martinez equalizer. Then Inter beat Benfica. Two more wins followed against Real Salzburg. In the second match against Benfica, the Nerazzurri took a point from a wild 3-3 comeback draw in Lisbon.

And in the final match of the group, Inter drew 0-0 against La Real yesterday. This means that they will likely face tougher opponents for the knockout stages, but the team have been asked to not be afraid of any opponent they might get when the draw is made later this month. According to legendary coach, Arrigo Sacchi, he analysed the work of the four Serie A clubs in the Champions League group stage, giving his thoughts on Inter’s need to step up and Napoli’s chances moving forward.


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Three of the four Italian sides have already booked their spots in the knockout stages of Europe’s premier club competition – Inter, Napoli and Lazio. The first two both finished second in their respective groups, whilst the Biancocelesti still have the chance to secure the top spot. Things are more difficult for Milan, who both need to beat Newcastle United and hope Borussia Dortmund beat Paris Saint-Germain.

Any other combination of results sees them exit at the group stage, a disappointing result for Stefano Pioli and his squad. Speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport, Sacchi first discussed if Serie A can be satisfied with the work of the four teams in the Champions League this season. “I would say yes. Three are in the Round of 16 and this is a great achievement.

“One will fight to get there, and let’s hope they make it, even if it won’t be easy. But there are still many things to improve and so, beware of stopping.” He touched on what needs to be improved. “I’m not just looking at the results, but at the game. Here, as far as the game is concerned, steps forward can and must be made. We can’t always focus only on counterattacks and heroic defences. Other solutions are needed.”

The former coach analysed Inter’s goalless draw with Real Sociedad. “The Nerazzurri left the ball to their opponents for almost the entire match, and this is a mistake that should not be made. It is true that the Spaniards were almost never dangerous, but they had the opportunity to manage the pace of the match. “Real Sociedad have excellent setters, in the 36th minute of the first half the Spaniards had 80 percent of possession. Inter never pressed. This is an aspect to work on.”

Sacchi had no doubts that Inter should’ve played a more intense match. “There is no doubt. Simone Inzaghi’s Inter have grown a lot in recent seasons, this should never be forgotten. Now it’s a matter of completing the work to become protagonists at a European level too.” He advised them what to do to take that next step. “We need to increase offensive solutions, we cannot think of hitting opponents only with counterattacks. I believe that Inzaghi is a good coach, and I am sure that he will try to raise the bar.

“If the players follow him, and I have no doubts about this aspect, you will see that Inter will make a notable leap forward. “They have elements of class, with great physicality and excellent technique. In short, there is everything to do well.” The legendary coach suggested that Inter do not need to fear any opponent in the Round of 16. “The risks are clear and they are called Arsenal, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Manchester City, perhaps Barcelona, if they confirm themselves first in the group today.

“But I’ll be honest, Inter shouldn’t be afraid of these teams. They have the possibilities and qualities to compete against anyone, as long as they make those improvements in terms of ball management and pressing. “The Nerazzurri have great players, let’s not forget that, Lautaro, Thuram, Calhanoglu, Barella are champions.” He gave his thoughts on Napoli’s work on the European stage this term.

“We are starting to see some plots that we remembered from last season, but it will still take a little time. In any case, I think Napoli can have their say in the Champions League. They have high profile players. “Mazzarri, I’m convinced, will try to restore enthusiasm and ideas to the whole group, and the task of his boys will be to follow him. If they played very well a year ago, they can do the same now.” Sacchi touched on how Napoli will face a tougher opponent in the next round.

“In the case of Napoli, the important thing is that they focus on themselves and try to rediscover that fluidity of movement and that beauty that characterized them in the past. Osimhen is getting back into shape and Kvara, sooner or later, will return to his level.” He looked ahead to Lazio’s coming clash with Atletico Madrid.

“Very hard. But it must be said that Sarri performed a kind of miracle. Bringing Lazio to the Round of 16 with a game to spare is a great result, considering that, in addition to Atletico who have great experience, in the group there was a very dangerous team like Feyenoord.” F

Fnally, Sacchi discussed Milan’s do-or-die Champions League outing with Newcastle. “I expect Milan to return to being a team, to play as a collective, to show a high spirit of sacrifice. It would be a notable result, after the Rossoneri have shown discontinuity in this first part of the season which has often penalized them.” He further added.

Meanwhile…

Talks between Milan and Arsenal for Jakub Kiwior continue even if the Gunners are reportedly unwilling to loan out the former Spezia defender in January. Milan are expected to sign a new defender in the winter transfer window to boost Stefano Pioli’s options at the back.

Read Also: “We Finished Second In The Group Last Season And Reached The Final”

The Rossoneri have travelled to Newcastle for a Champions League meeting on Wednesday with Fikayo Tomori as their only fit centre-back. According to reports, the Rossoneri are in talks with Arsenal for Kiwior who has emerged as their priority target also because of his versatility. The Poland international can either play as a centre-back or as a left-back.

The report claims Arsenal are unwilling to loan Kiwior out in January, but the Rossoneri continue pushing as the 23-year-old defender wants more playing time. The Gunners’ value Kiwior at €25m, but Milan hope to get the player on loan until June and discuss the defender’s future at the end of the season.

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