(IN THE PHOTO: Inzaghi faces the press)
MILAN – This is what coach Filippo Inzaghi had to say ahead of his first official match as Milan coach against Lazio tomorrow at the San Siro:Inzaghi’s opening comments were as follows: "I don’t know at what stage we’re at, but I do know that we are improving. I have always asked people to wait for the 31st of August and I feel that the side is ready. It will then be the events on the pitch that decide. It will be a tough match for us, but also for them.” The Italian spoke more about Sunday’s opponents: "Lazio could be the surprise team of the season. They are quick and rapid in attack. We know their strengths and weaknesses. We will look to exploit their weak areas. We want to win over the fans and I can guarantee commitment and desire. We have re-found the Milan spirit and Milan DNA. This is the basis to start again from."Inzaghi continued: "Match after match, we’re becoming more of a team. We’ve improved and I am confident. I am calm because I’ve noted a side that has trained well and with desire. I inherited a group that was down, but now the work is being carried out well and I am very calm. I am very excited but this is our job. Football is all about emotions. As a coach I sleep a lot less compared to when I was a footballer. It is a job that takes away a lot of your energy but it is full of satisfactions." There was also a word about the visit of Italy coach Antonio Conte earlier in the week at Milanello: “The visit of Conte was a pleasure. He is following us and said many players could be called-up. His closeness could do us some good and to Italian football. I have always modelled myself in his values.”Inzaghi welcomed the recent visits of President Silvio Berlusconi: "I want to thank the President. He has been close to us and all of this is a motivation for me and for the players. When you are in need, the President is always there. I hope that we can give him the gift of a brilliant match tomorrow and make his day "The Milan coach touched upon the arrival of Fernando Torres: "It isn’t yet official for Torres. If he joins it is because everybody thinks he can be a useful player. He is always the first to arrive to training and very professional. We are rebuilding and we are on the right path. One step at a time we will get back to the top."The Italian said this about his role: "My duty is to get 100% out of my players. Based on who I have available I will make my choices. I am open to all possibilities. We have to be ambitious, but not pretentious. We have to try and compete with the best. I hope to be up to the standard. Perhaps the top three from last year are one step ahead, but we hope to be one of the surprises of the season."There were more questions about Torres “I spoke to Mourinho to find out about what kind of man Torres is. He is a player that has scored lots of goals and you don’t forget this all of a sudden. He has the right attributes from a human point of view and that is good. Apart from Torres, I don’t think it is right to speak about the transfer market. I want to focus on the match. We want to do really well. My only thought is on this debut which I really care about, in our stadium and with our people. We want to win back the fans."On individuals: "Alex and Menez have probably been forgotten about because of events towards the end of last season. They are important like Diego Lopez and probably Fernando Torres. However, I repeat that I am only thinking about Lazio at the moment. Pazzini is a leader in this project. I have a lot of respect for him and he has given me a big hand. I will decide today whether to play him from the start or not. He is doing well. I am not speaking about Balotelli anymore. You know my thought about that. Let’s think about Milan today and not look to the past.Honda is an important player and doing very well. He is a top professional and I have a lot of respect for him. I am happy to have him in the side."Finally, coach Inzaghi had this to say about his coaching philosophy and making his players understand the importance of the Milan jersey: “As a coach I have my philosophy. Ahead of the formation, there is the group. You have to also understand the type of shirt you are wearing, a unique shirt, that you cannot ignore. Everybody who leaves Milan wants to come back and I don’t think this is just by chance. I don’t know if giving our all will be enough, but if they do beat us it means that they are stronger than us. However, they won’t beat us in terms of desire and winning character."
Click here meanwhile to read what Inzaghi had to say exclusively to the Milan Channel before his pre-match press conference.