Simone Inzaghi saluted Inter’s unity after the Nerazzurri kept Porto at bay to secure their place in the Champions League quarter-finals.
Inter are through to the last eight of Europe’s premier club competition for the first time in 12 years, after a goalless draw at Estadio do Dragao sealed a 1-0 aggregate victory over Sergio Conceicao’s side.
The visitors survived a late flurry of chances as Porto struck the woodwork twice in quick succession through Mehdi Taremi and Marko Grujic, while Denzel Dumfries blocked Ivan Mercano on the line.
And Inzaghi heaped praise on his players’ efforts as they held out to prevail.
“We played a great game, the group came together and played a great match,” he told Mediaset. “[We were] excellent first half. In the last part of the match, we suffered all together – honour to this group.
“In football, luck counts relatively, [but] in the two legs, we deserved the passage to the quarter-finals. Now, it’s right to enjoy a feat that has been missing for a long time.”
We gave more. We deserved it.
The quarter-finals are where we belong.#ForzaInter pic.twitter.com/V9k4Ekj9V8
— Inter (@Inter_en) March 14, 2023
Henrikh Mkhitaryan also paid tribute to his team-mates, and the midfielder believes Inter have a genuine chance of embarking on a deep run.
When asked if they could go all the way, he told Sky Sports: “You can always dream, we want to do our best. It’s a good opportunity, Inter haven’t reached the quarter-finals for a long time, but we have to play with our heads.
“We knew it would be very tough. I want to congratulate my team-mates because we fought until the end. I hope this qualification will give us the push for the next games.”
Meanwhile, Matteo Darmian was pleased with the way the Nerazzurri responded to their surprise 2-1 defeat by lowly Spezia in Serie A on Friday.
“We entered the field with the right desire and malice,” the defender added. “We came from a bad defeat; many things were said. It was the perfect evening to make up for it.
“We were able to suffer at the right times, and we brought home the result. An evening like tonight gives us so much confidence and awareness.”