Soccer-Shakhtar game not decisive for Inter’s European hopes, says Inzaghi

(Reuters) - Inter Milan’s clash with Shakhtar Donetsk will not decide their Champions League fate, coach Simone Inzaghi said on Monday, as he urged his team to take a more balanced approach on the pitch in Ukraine.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Italy - Serie A - Inter Milan v Genoa - San Siro, Milan, Italy - August 21, 2021 Inter Milan coach Simone Inzaghi REUTERS/Daniele Mascolo/File photo

Inzaghi’s side lost their European opener 1-0 against Real Madrid two weeks ago, leaving them trailing the Spanish side and tournament debutants Sheriff Tiraspol, who stunned Shakhtar with a 2-0 win.

“It is not a decisive match yet but it is certainly very important. Shakhtar are a great team who are very well coached, with important individuals,” Inzaghi told a news conference ahead of Tuesday’s Group D game.

Inter have scored a league-high 20 goals in their six Serie A games so far and earned an entertaining 2-2 draw against Atalanta on Saturday.

But Inzaghi called for a more measured approach from his players as they try to reach the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time in 10 years.

“We are coming into this after a good performance against Atalanta. I really liked the team and their reaction,” Inzaghi said.

“I asked for a team that is ready to react and play good football and I have seen these two things in the first six games of the season.

“In addition, I would like to see more balance. We attack with a lot of players and create a lot of moves but we should probably aim to take less difficult choices as sometimes messing up simple passes puts you up against dangerous transitions and counter-attacks.”

There will be a familiar face in the opposing dugout in Kiev on Tuesday, as Inzaghi goes head-to-head again with compatriot Roberto De Zerbi, who left Sassuolo to become Shakhtar manager in May.

“After watching Shakhtar in the last few matches, you see that he is trying to bring in his ideas,” Inzaghi said.

“He has done very well in just two-and-a-half months. He has made some slight changes considering the players that he has, who are of great quality.”

Reporting by Alasdair Mackenzie; editing by Clare Fallon