Inter keen to quickly forget Empoli defeat and still not giving up on Scudetto

By Sports Desk January 23, 2023

Simone Inzaghi told Inter to forget Monday's dismal defeat to Empoli, after which the Nerazzurri were still not giving up hopes of winning Serie A.

Inter remained 13 points behind runaway leaders Napoli after going down 1-0 at home following a first-half Milan Skriniar red card.

Empoli were good value for their win against Inzaghi's out-of-sorts side, and the head coach appeared to recognise that as he sought to move on swiftly from this match.

"We have to archive it immediately," he said. "We will have another difficult game, and we have to forget immediately, looking ahead.

"Of course, we will analyse the mistakes, but we have to think about the next matches."

The season is now at the halfway stage, and Inzaghi acknowledged Inter must improve.

"This is a defeat that stings," he told DAZN. "We finish the first half of the season with 37 points and many regrets.

"Now, we know we'll have to do better over the second part."

However, midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu is remaining optimistic, saying in an interview with Sky Sport: "Thirteen points [to Napoli] is a huge gap, but we have to keep going and not stop.

"I know it feels hard to believe, but there's still a long way to go."

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    Sir Jim Ratcliffe has echoed two of Sir Alex Ferguson’s famous lines by vowing to knock “noisy neighbours” Manchester City and Liverpool “off their perch” within three years as he set out his vision to rebuild the Red Devils.

    Ratcliffe, 71, is now co-owner of the club he has supported since the age of six after completing the purchase of a 27.7 per cent stake which delegates control of football operations to his company Ineos.

    He set out his ambition to challenge City and Liverpool for domestic and European silverware, using the famous sentiment of United’s great former manager, but called on fans to be patient, insisting it will take two or three seasons at least for Ineos to get the club to where he wants them to be.

    In 2002, Ferguson said his “greatest challenge was knocking Liverpool right off their f*****g perch”, going on to surpass their rivals’ league title tally, while he branded City as the “noisy neighbours” in 2010.

    In the longer term, he is looking to work with the public sector on either building a new £2billion stadium to regenerate the area around the Old Trafford, which he envisages hosting England games and FA Cup finals, or redevelop the existing site at a cost of £1billion.

    “We have a lot to learn from our noisy neighbour and the other neighbour (Liverpool). They are the enemy at the end of the day,” Ratcliffe said.

    “There is nothing I would like better than to knock both of them off their perch. Equally, we are the three great northern clubs who are very close to one another.

    “They have been in a good place for a while and there are things we can learn from both of them. They have sensible organisations, great people within the organisations, a good, driven and elite environment that they work in.

    “I am very respectful of them but they are still the enemy.”

    Asked about the timeframe to make United truly competitive, Ratcliffe added: “It’s not a light switch. It’s not an overnight change – it’s going to take two or three seasons.

    “You have to ask the fans for some patience. I know the world these days likes instant gratification but that’s not the case with football really.

    “It’s not a 10-year plan. The fans would run out of patience if it was a 10-year plan. But it’s certainly a three-year plan to get there.”

    Ratcliffe, whose stake in United will rise to 28.9 per cent by the end of the year by virtue of his investment in club infrastructure, acknowledges that having a modern fit-for-purpose stadium is vital.

    He said the focus will be on either a stadium in the north to rival Wembley as the go-to venue in England for major matches, or to redevelop Old Trafford.

    “There is a really good case to refurbish Old Trafford, probably about £1billion in cost, or something like that,” he said.

    “You finish up with a great stadium, it’s probably an 80 or 90,000-seater. But it’s not perfect because you’re modifying a stadium that is slap bang up against a railway line and all that type of stuff, so it’s not an ideal world. But you finish up with a very good answer.

    “There’s this wider conversation with the community as to whether you could use a more ambitious project on site as a catalyst to regenerate that Old Trafford area. There’s a strong case for using a stadium to regenerate that area, like with the Olympics, like Seb Coe did with that part of East London quite successfully. City have done it and they’ve done quite a good job (of regenerating Eastlands).”

    Both of those projects had state support, and Ratcliffe saw no issue with the same happening at United to achieve that.

    “The people in the north pay their taxes like the people in the south pay their taxes,” he said.

    “But where’s the national stadium for football? It’s in the south. Where’s the national stadium for rugby? It’s in the south. Where’s the national stadium for tennis? It’s in the south. Where’s the national concert stadium? It’s the O2, it’s in the south. Where’s the Olympic Village? It’s in the south.

    “All of this talk about levelling up and the Northern Powerhouse… where is the stadium in the north? How many Champions Leagues has the north-west won and how many Champions Leagues has London won? The answer to that is the north-west has won 10 – Liverpool have won more than us – and London has won two.

    “Where do you have to go if you get to the semi-final of the FA Cup and you’re a northern club? You have to schlep down to London, don’t you? People in the north pay their taxes and there is an argument that you could think about a more ambitious project in the north which would be fitting for England, for the Champions League final or the FA Cup final and act as a catalyst to regenerate southern Manchester, which has got quite significant history in the UK.”

  • I want to knock Manchester City and Liverpool off their perch – Jim Ratcliffe I want to knock Manchester City and Liverpool off their perch – Jim Ratcliffe

    Sir Jim Ratcliffe accepts Manchester United have a lot to learn from their “noisy neighbours” Manchester City and Liverpool but is determined to “knock both of them off their perch” within three years as he set out his vision to rebuild the Red Devils.

    Ratcliffe, 71, is now co-owner of the club he has supported since the age of six after completing the purchase of a 27.7 per cent stake which delegates control of football operations to his company Ineos.

    He set out his ambition to challenge City and Liverpool for domestic and European silverware but called on United fans to be patient, insisting it will take two or three seasons at least for Ineos to get the club to where he wants them to be.

    In the longer term, he is looking to work with the public sector on either building a new £2billion stadium to regenerate the area around the Old Trafford, which he envisages hosting England games and FA Cup finals, or redevelop the existing site at a cost of £1billion.

    “We have a lot to learn from our noisy neighbour and the other neighbour (Liverpool). They are the enemy at the end of the day,” Ratcliffe said.

    “There is nothing I would like better than to knock both of them off their perch. Equally, we are the three great northern clubs who are very close to one another.

    “They have been in a good place for a while and there are things we can learn from both of them. They have sensible organisations, great people within the organisations, a good, driven and elite environment that they work in.

    “I am very respectful of them but they are still the enemy.”

    Asked about the timeframe to make United truly competitive, Ratcliffe added: “It’s not a light switch. It’s not an overnight change – it’s going to take two or three seasons.

    “You have to ask the fans for some patience. I know the world these days likes instant gratification but that’s not the case with football really.

    “It’s not a 10-year plan. The fans would run out of patience if it was a 10-year plan. But it’s certainly a three-year plan to get there.”

  • Police hope for better treatment of fans as report highlights ‘hostile’ approach Police hope for better treatment of fans as report highlights ‘hostile’ approach

    Police hope a new report detailing recent supporter experiences will lead to better treatment of fans of English clubs playing away in Europe.

    The UK Football Policing Unit (UKFPU) has co-ordinated a survey gathering feedback of fan groups from English teams who have played in European competition since the 2020-21 season.

    It comes after the last two Champions League finals, in Paris in 2022 and Istanbul in 2023, saw Liverpool and then Manchester City supporters endure considerable issues.

    The report includes details of problems experienced by Manchester United supporters who travelled for the Champions League group match at Galatasaray this season, and also says “the consistent feedback of fans is that the policing style in Spain is confrontational, frequently aggressive and on occasions violent”.

    The UKFPU will now use the data to work with fans, UEFA and host countries to address the issues raised.

    Chief Constable Mark Roberts, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for football policing, said: “Following the events of the 2022 Champions League final in Paris and the mistreatment of Liverpool fans, it was hoped that the reviews and outcry would mark a watershed in the experience of English supporters following their teams in Europe.

    “Subsequent events, in particular the arrangements for Manchester City supporters attending the 2023 Champions League final in Istanbul, suggested this wasn’t the case and that lessons were not being learned.

    “The aim of this survey is to get more detailed evidence of the issues fans are experiencing when travelling to European away matches, and to help find a way to solve these.

    “There has been a lot of positive feedback, but we can see from the data some specific issues which are being experienced at certain clubs and in certain countries.

    “It is hoped we can use these results to work collaboratively and create a safer and more welcoming experience for supporters following their teams.

    “We have the support of UEFA. This has been circulated to all the European police forces, I’ve written to them all saying these are the findings, encouraging them to look at it and where necessary adapt. I’ve also invited feedback from them about how the experience is for fans in England.

    “Then we’re going to ask fans to give us reports on an ongoing basis to either confirm the problem is still there or hopefully recognise that people have listened and there is an improvement.

    “We’re not doing it to knock people or try to fall out with people. We’re being honest, but the aim is that it’s a platform for us to then build and get better treatment for our fans abroad.”

    A comment in the report from United fans on the Galatasaray match in November described it as “one of the worst experiences in years….a shambles…the epitome of a disgrace”.

    The fans comment said there had been a “complete breakdown of access into the stadium with dangerous overcrowding”, some supporters taking two hours to get in and missing the opening 30 minutes, inappropriate seizure of personal items and a hold back of more than 80 minutes, with public transport then closed by the time fans had been released and got back to the city.

    Among the issues in Spain highlighted, policing at Real Madrid was described as “incredibly hostile” by Chelsea fans in relation to last term’s quarter-final – where the overall experience was labelled “a disgrace of the highest order” – and as “confrontational” by City supporters, regarding the 2021-22 semi-final.

    A comment from United fans on playing Villarreal away in 2021-22 said there had been “the most overzealous and aggressive policing I have seen” with “multiple examples of fans being assaulted and struck with batons for no valid reason”.

    While there were also various issues outlined by fans of different clubs making trips to face teams in France and Italy, the report said the overall feedback about event management in Germany was “overwhelmingly positive”.

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