A week after the Champions League final in which Manchester City clinched the treble against Inter, whom has made their first appearance within the finals since they have last won the European piece of silverware in 2010, the Get Italian Football News team had football journalist, pitch-side reporter and TV presenter Adriano Del Monte exclusively provide his thoughts and insight on the significant fixture.
While many individuals expected the Premier League giants to blow the Nerazzurri out of the water, Inzaghi’s men have managed to prove many wrong as the Benemata have matched City’s tempo, remained compact defensively in order to contain Guardiola’s side, and moved the ball around with great fluidity to break them on the counter.
However, the lack of finesse and precision within the final third of the pitch proved to be extremely costly for the Italian side. Despite the incredible, blistering goal-scoring form of Inter strikers Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez heading into the vital fixture, the pair have failed to find the back of the net on numerous occasions.
In the end, Rodri’s sublime screamer within the 69th minute of play, which he wrapped around Matteo Darmian and Hakan Calhanoglu to slot it into the bottom-right corner, was the decisive factor in enabling City to seize their first ever Champions League within their club’s history.
Del Monte was first asked to provide his analysis of the match and his thoughts of the tactical approaches of both Simone Inzaghi and Pep Guardiola:
‘It was a fascinating match, a really fascinating match. I don’t know why but coming in, I know many were suggesting that Manchester City would win easily since clearly they were the favourite, but I just had a good feeling about Inter Milan. Covering them in the Serie A so closely and just seeing the consistent improvement that we had seen in the last couple of months of the season, it just seemed like they were at the top of their game.
“Some of their top players were starting to perform at a high level and they looked more compact than ever. They were starting to score, which if we remember and if we reflect two to three months prior, there was a period where Inter had 115 shots and had only scored one goal in open play in five matches. They were creating but they couldn’t finish their opportunities.
“So coming into the match, I had a lot of confidence in Inter. In the end it was that lack of finishing which was too costly for Inter Milan and why in the end even though you outplay Manchester City, who yes in terms of a squad the best squad in world football, and you match them on the pitch, you don’t come away with a goal let alone a trophy.
“I think my immediate reflection on the match is that it was a massive missed opportunity for Inter and Simone Inzaghi, but in the end I think the approach was as expected from an Italian perspective. For Manchester City, of course the Kyle Walker change was one that maybe not too many had expected from Guardiola. However, in the end, Guardiola gets his reward for a long time of Investments ,a lot of patience and lots of perseverance. He’s an individual who will go down as one of the great coaches in the history of the game and He’s had to do it with some serious investments over time.
“Although, if we look tactically at the end of the day I think the match was won and lost with Inter’s lack of finishing because if you see the expected gold stats post match you know Inter was over two Manchester City were south one. I think the best team of the season won, but the best team on the day lost.”
Furthermore, Del Monte was then asked to provide his individual standout performances from the final in Istanbul:
“Rodri obviously was man of the match and he has a special story. I interviewed him a number of times, super humble guy and I think his performance was superb . Stones played well and given his role under Guardiola and what he’s been able to do this season, he has been quite remarkable. I think he’s one of the under-rated player stories this season. Ederson, I think that some of those stops whether he knew what was happening or not, he has played an integral role in Manchester City’s title era.
“Not underwhelming but for De Bruyne, to end the match in the way that it did you have to feel for him as that’s two Champions League finals in the last three seasons where they’re being involved in and for him to see it being abruptly ended is a big disappointment. Obviously, the attack of Manchester City weren’t their best and I think in the end they’re very fortunate on the day that they came away with the win because I think a lot of criticism would have been directed towards the the star players in the attack for Man City, but in the end no goals for them but no worries.
“For Inter, I think it was a solid team performance across the board. In terms of standouts, Onana has been a player over the course of the season who has been as important to any club. I think Onana has gotten better and better as the season has gone on, so yet again a very strong performance. Defensively, I think what Acerbi was able to do with Haaland considering what many would have predicted in terms of the final outcome, remarkable performance. And his story is just so inspiring as well obviously.
“Obviously a major disappointment was Lukaku as there were a lot of good feelings in the stadium when Lukaku came on at nil-nil as it could have been a fairy-tale written in the stars as it could have been Lukaku’s moment to make his mark. In the end, it was the opposite unfortunately and he played a role which didn’t help the team and now his future is completely up in the air.
“Overall, I think it was an Inter team that no one had expected to make the Champions League final from the start of the season, probably even at the start of the knockout stage when the when the draw came out, but it was a team that continually improved and got better and in the end, positive performances for individuals or not, I think they will all walk away with their heads held high because it was a remarkable campaign”
Julian Faustini Ι GIFN