Tata Martino: “Beyond collective effort, we’re here because of what Messi has given us in these last five games.”


Inter Miami CF are marching onwards in Leagues Cup 2023. With a 4-0 win over Charlotte FC at DRV PNK Stadium, Tata Martino’s side booked their place in the semi-finals of the competition. With the signings of Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets, and Jordi Alba having completely changed the form of the Herons, the side who are still currently last place in the Eastern Conference of MLS could now be considered as favourites to take home the trophy.

“At the start of the tournament there were 47 teams, and Miami, who are in last place in MLS, are in the semi-finals,” said Martino, proud of what he has achieved so far in the competition. “I think it speaks to the moment that we have some expectations, as a minimum, of being able to achieve something good here.” 

Since the arrival of the former Barça trio, Inter Miami have gone five games with straight wins, managing to score a total of 17 goals whilst only conceding six in that time. Martino at least admitted that Messi has been a big factor behind that success. “The truth is that beyond the collective effort of the team, we're also here because of what he has offered in these last five games,” said Martino. “And not only what he gives, but what he generates for his teammates. There's great confidence in the rest of the players playing with him.”

“It is hard to understand how a player that touches the ball 40 or 50 metres from the opponent’s goal generates an expectation of a goal when there's a whole team between him and the goal,” he continued. “This helps with a team giving him passes; they allow him to choose the next play. When we find Leo to be able to make the decision of where the play is going to go, it is a very good sensation. And then after, what he's doing outside of the pitch … he’s started being a leader with the group, in training, on the field, and I’m not just speaking about sports leadership. There's a lot of changes because of his presence.”

Inter Miami and Messi will now face the challenging trip to Philadelphia Union in the semi-finals of Leagues Cup 2023.