Inter Milan and Fiorentina both set their eyes on more juicy prizes this season at Wednesday’s Coppa Italia final.
Inter will face Manchester City in the Champions League final on 10 June, three days later Fiorentina will take on another Premier League club, West Ham, in the Europa Conference League final.
Ahead of their continental fixtures, both Italian clubs must focus on their duel at Rome’s Olympic Stadium.
Inter are looking to retain their Coppa Italia title and continue to fight for three titles this season under coach Simone Inzaghi, who has become a cup specialist.
Inzaghi has won six of his last seven finals as manager. He won Lazio champions in the 2019 Italian Cup, apart from winning a few Italian Super Cups.
He has also won two Italian Super Cups with Inter – including a win against classic rivals AC Milan this season – and the Coppa Italia last year.
Despite Inzaghi’s stupendous success, the 47-year-old has been hit hard this season and his consistency has been called into question amid a perception that his side has failed to live up to expectations in Serie A.
However, chief executive Giuseppe Marotta recently claimed that Inzaghi is “100 per cent” confirmed as Nerzurrii manager for next season.
“It’s great that the club has faith in me,” said Inzaghi. “We have four games left, and two finals.”
“We keep growing; our fifth final in two years is coming up, and these finals are very valuable in that they allow the club to develop further”, he said.
Inter ended an eight-game winning streak in all competitions after losing 3-1 to Serie A champions Napoli. But it remains within reach of a top-four finish and a ticket to the next Champions League with a draw against Atalanta next weekend.
Inter’s winning streak was partly due to the resurgence of Romelu Lukaku. After a season in which he struggled with injuries, the Belgian forward has returned to his best form in time to score four goals in his last three league games.
Inzaghi said, “Lukaku is feeling great and that applies to all his teammates. In the last two months, he is back to being the Romelu we all know.”
Lukaku’s attacking partner Lautaro Martinez is the only player to have featured in all 53 of Inter’s games this season. The Argentine world champion has scored 25 goals this season, equaling his personal record from last year.
In a 4–3 win over Inter in October, Fiorentina would defend their defense when they remembered Martínez had scored a double against them. La Viola won 1–0 on a visit to the San Siro in early April.
While Inter is an experienced team in recent finals, the Tuscan club had to wait more than a decade to make an appearance in these instances – and will be having two at the same time.
Fiorentina had not played in a final since losing to Napoli in the 2014 Coppa Italia final.
With almost nothing at stake in the league, coach Vincenzo Italiano was able to rest the entire squad in Sunday’s draw against Torino after their effort to beat Basel in extra time in mid-week.
“We are tired, mental fatigue also comes in handy. It’s not just the feet, it’s everything,” Italiano said. We had to rest him after 130 minutes because on Wednesday we have the game of our lives.
2001 was the last of Fiorentina’s six Coppa Italia titles. Eight-time champions Inter have won five since then.