Inter are back in the UEFA Champions League's quarter finals for the first time since 2011, when they were surprisingly eliminated by Schalke 04. The Nerazzurri managed to beat Porto over two legs of the Round of 16 thanks to the goal scored by Romelu Lukaku in the first game at San Siro, while on Tuesday Inter drew 0-0 away in Portugal to finish the job. While the fans are now waiting to know who they will have to face in the quarter finals, Inter coach Simone Inzaghi's future remains unclear.
AC Milan and Inter both qualify for #UCL quarterfinals for the first time since 2005/06. 🤌🇮🇹 pic.twitter.com/qD77ecgvhk— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) March 14, 2023
Inzaghi was appointed by Inter in the summer 2021, after the Nerazzurri won the Scudetto under coach Antonio Conte, who later decided to part ways with the Italian club. His first months as Inter coach were not easy at all as the former Lazio manager, watched the club sell both Romelu Lukaku and Achraf Hakimi out from under him due to their financial situation. Inzaghi adapted well and created a nice bond with the fans as well. During the first season he won the Supercoppa Italiana and the Coppa Italia, defeating Juventus in both finals. Inter were eliminated in the Round of 16 against Liverpool and also lost the Scudetto on the last matchday of the season.
The Inter board considered Inzaghi's first season a success and last summer decided to extend his deal for one more year until 2024, with the previous agreement due to expire in the summer 2023. Under his management this season, Inter went through the most difficult Champions League's group with FC Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Viktoria Plzen and now knocked out Porto in the Round of 16.
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The Nerazzurri won already their first trophy of the season as Inter won 3-0 the Supercoppa against AC Milan and will also play the semifinals of the Coppa Italia against Juventus next month. On the other hand, things are not going so well in the league as Inter are currently second 18 points behind Napoli, and also lost eight games already so far.
For sure Simone Inzaghi was able to turn things around when Conte left the club in the summer 2021, as the club sold key players such as Hakimi and Lukaku and also lost Christian Eriksen, who couldn't play Serie A soccer anymore after his heart issue. Inzaghi was able to win at least one trophy in both seasons, but losing the Scudetto against city rivals AC Milan was a big disappointment for the whole environment.
INTER ARE HEADING TO THE #UCL QUARTERFINALS FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 2011. 👏 pic.twitter.com/miolJPef1z— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) March 14, 2023
However, their second season as of now is definitely affected by the eight Serie A defeats, especially ones against clubs such as Spezia as happened om Friday. Inter desperately need to get into the top four due to their financial situation and the race is now really tight and not qualifying for the next Champions League would be a huge blow for Inter.
If the future of Inzaghi remains unclear, it is mainly because of the Serie A performances against smaller clubs that were mostly disappointing this year. In 2023, the Nerazzurri have already dropped points to Monza, Empoli, Sampdoria, Bologna and Spezia and these points lost along the way might become crucial when it comes to the Champions League's race, as they already cost them another Serie A title with Napoli flying ahead.
There are now increasing rumours about the possibility of seeing Inzaghi leaving at the end of the season, but the final decision will likely depend mainly on the results. For this reason, the club reaching the quarter finals for the first time since 2011 is a big plus for the former Lazio coach, who admitted some irritation at the end of the game in the post-match interview to Sky Italy: "I'm very calm, but when the time comes I'll talk". The question now is when this time will arrive and if that means that he will leave the club before the end of his contract.