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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - RIYADH: The day before Inter Milan and Lazio face off in Supercoppa Italiana’s semifinal in Riyadh, Internazionale’s coach Simone Inzaghi confirmed that his team are fully focused on winning the Italian Super Cup.
Addressing a press conference on Thursday ahead of the second semifinal in the competition, officially known as the EA Sports FC Supercup, Inzaghi said winning the cup “takes the most focus,” especially since the tournament is played in a knockout system.
He added: “This makes it necessary for the technical staff to choose the participating players carefully, especially considering the strength of Lazio, which are ranked fourth in the Italian Serie A.”
According to Inter’s coach, the course of the clash remains in the balance, especially against a “distinguished team” like Lazio.
Inzaghi said: “In order to coach or be a player at Internazionale, you must get used to pressures and have great aspirations. On a personal level, we ask our fans in Saudi Arabia to support us like they did last year.”
The 36th Supercoppa Italiana kicked off on Thursday evening with Napoli playing against Fiorentina in the first semifinal.
This year marks the fourth time the Kingdom has hosted the event, and it is the first time it has featured both the winners and runners-up of Serie A and the Coppa Italia, rather than just the champions of each.
Inter Milan’s Armenian midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan said: “Competing in the Super Cup with the participation of four clubs is something special, and to keep the trophy in our closet requires us to double our efforts.
“Rewinning the title will make our fans happy and will be a motivation for other competitions. The confrontations against Lazio are always difficult, given that they have a strong group of players.”
Commenting on Saudi football, Mkhitaryan said: “What Saudi sports have been doing is a great thing. The arrival of many international players will contribute to the development of the Saudi Pro League.”
Meanwhile, Lazio’s head coach Maurizio Sarri has pointed out the importance of not making mistakes against Inter, and to play in a manner that can achieve the desired result against a team considered one of Europe’s strongest.
The arrival of star names in the SPL is of interest to Sarri, who hopes that the Kingdom continues to develop in the sport.
Lazio’s Italian striker Ciro Immobile said: “It is a cup with two finals, and there is not enough time to prepare for all matches. Currently, I somehow lack sharpness after three weeks of absence. Our last match with Inter was a real test, and we must focus to avoid the negatives that happened and reinforce the positives.”
The Supercoppa Italiana’s two semifinals and final, which takes place on Monday, are hosted at Al-Awwal Park, the 25,000-capacity home ground of SPL side Al-Nassr.
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