'Everyone expected us to finish fourth' - Inzaghi praises Inter Milan stars after losing title to AC Milan

Inter Milan lost Conte, Lukaku, Hakimi and most of their funding from the Suning Group at the beginning of the season but still finished 2nd

Simone Inzaghi (R) faced-off against Stefano Pioli (L) in this season's Milan derbies

Inter Milan manager Simone Inzaghi has chosen to praise his players despite losing the 2021/22 Serie A title to AC Milan on the final day of the season.

Inter picked up a 3-0 victory at home against Sampdoria on Sunday but it mattered little as AC Milan also won by the same score-line away at Sassuolo for the Rossoneri to claim the title.

Milan needed a victory to clinch their first Serie A trophy in 11 years with the Stefano Pioli-led side ensuring that the title race went down to the last day with a Kobe Bryant-inspired 2-0 home victory over Atlanta in their penultimate match of the season.

Inter Milan lost key personnel such as manager Antonio Conte, striker Romelu Lukaku, and wing-back Achraf Hakimi before the start of the season ahead of the defence of their 2021 title.

Chinese-owned Suning Group also scaled down on their financial commitment to the club, as the effects of the Covid-19 bit down on the coffers of the club owners.

In Inzaghi's post-match press conference with DAZN as reported by Football Italia, the Inter manager lauded his team for pulling through a difficult season.

Inzaghi said: “The main sentiment is pride, I think, with the way the fans welcomed us to the stadium today and their final applause too.

“I congratulate the squad on an excellent season that could’ve been extraordinary with the Scudetto. I congratulate Milan on reaching 86 points, but also congratulate us, because 84 is nothing to be sniffed at.

The Inter Milan manager alluded to the early-season projection that the team would finish outside the Top four but ended up exceeding that tally by finishing runner-ups.

"I am proud of this squad, we did great things, as did Milan. The greatest satisfaction was going from the predictions we’d finish outside the top four to the same people saying we’d have the Scudetto sealed up by January," Inzaghi said.

"Since I arrived, the opinion on Inter has changed and that is thanks to our work. Two points. They were also more consistent towards the end of the season."

Inzaghi suggested that Inter's run in the UEFA Champions League affected their title defence, specifically highlighting their Round-of-16 double-header clash with Liverpool as costing them the title.

The Inter manager explained: "As for us, we lost ground during the double Champions League clash with Liverpool, but 84 points is still a lot. Over the next few days, we’ll analyse what more we could’ve done.

“Obviously, we are Inter, we won two trophies, but there is still a bitter taste in the mouth at the way we let the Scudetto get away.

"We must try to whittle down that two-point gap between us and Milan next season. It was a long journey, a positive one, but I cannot deny nobody likes to finish second.”

AC Milan, Inter Milan, Napoli. and Juventus are the Top 4 clubs in the 2021/22 Serie A season respectively.

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