Inter Milan’s CEO admits they DIDN’T expect to qualify from Champions League group after drawing Bayern and Barcelona… as Giuseppe Marotta reveals budget was based on them entering the Europa League
- Inter have qualified from Group C with one game in hand remaining
- The Italian side claim they did not expect to be heading into the next stage
- After drawing Bayern Munich and Barcelona, the club expected to finish third
- Marotta says the money from qualifying will go towards new player contracts
Inter Milan CEO Giuseppe Marotta has admitted that the club’s seasonal budget was written up with the expectations that they would not qualify from their Champions League ‘Group of Death’.
The Serie A outfit saw their place in the Round of 16 confirmed after a 4-0 win over Viktoria Plzen on Wednesday took them out of reach of Barcelona – who have mustered just four points in Group C.
Inter were given an incredibly difficult group which featured the Catalan side and Bayern Munich, and now Marotta has revealed how the club expected to be knocked into the Europa League.
Inter Milan secured a place in the Champions League Round of 16 after a win on Wednesday
Giuseppe Marotta says their budget was written up under assumption they’d get knocked out
When asked if they predicted to be knocked out, according to Sky Sports Italy, Marotta revealed: ‘It is very true. I don’t know what Barcelona predicted, but as far as we were concerned, our budget was prudent.
‘Having said that, we wanted to get through and the draw made it look very difficult, but this evening we can crown a small dream to qualify a game early from an extremely tough group.’
The additional funds generated from qualification could now allow Inter to tie up some key players to long-term contracts, such as defender Milan Skriniar.
Marotta continued: ‘They are two distinct issues. We want to sit down and discuss the contract with Skriniar because he is a great professional and deserves it, we hope he can be a reference point for Inter in the present and the future.
‘Naturally, it takes two parties to reach an agreement in negotiations. I hope and am optimistic that we can extend his contract soon in what would be an important step for everyone concerned.’
The Italian outfit managed to qualify with one game remaining after beating Viktoria Plzen
To make matters worse, Barcelona were beaten 3-0 at home by Bayern Munich on the night
Marotta went on to speak of his joy in qualifying and how his faith in coach Simone Inzaghi – who was faltering at one stage – has now been repaid.
‘It would be an important achievement that is part of the consolidation process that started three or four years ago. On a European level we reached the knockouts last season, so doing it again would be an excellent result,’ Marotta said.
On Inzaghi, he claimed: ‘The first thing we did was to analyse the situation carefully, see where we were lacking, but realised this was a real group – including the coach – that could climb back up the hill.
‘The soul returned, the calm, concentration, confidence and focus returned that allowed them to get back to the Inter standards.’
Marotta says his Simone Inzaghi has returned the ‘calm and concentration’ to the Serie A side
Inter secured their place in the final 16 teams of the tournament with a 4-0 win at home thanks to goals from Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Edin Dzeko and Romelu Lukaku.
The result sealed Barcelona’s fate before their game had kicked off in Spain, with the Catalan side sitting six points behind their Italian counterparts with one game remaining.
It is the first time since 1999 that the Catalan club failed to advance to the knockout stage in consecutive years, coinciding with the departure of Lionel Messi to Paris Saint-Germain two seasons ago.
Barcelona were eliminated from the Champions League after Inter Milan’s win on Wednesday