Tata Martino explains why inspired Lionel Messi performance was ‘comforting’ for Inter Miami

Ciaran McCarthy
Lionel Messi, Inter Miami, April 2024
Lionel Messi inspired Inter Miami to a win over Sporting Kansas City

Inter Miami coach Tata Martino has explained that his side’s latest win, inspired by a top Lionel Messi performance, was “comforting” for him at the end of a “tough week.”

Inter Miami started the season strong, with two wins and a draw in their opening three games. Messi bagged three goals and an assist in that run, before he was sidelined for the next four games.

Of those four, Miami lost two and drew one, only beating DC United, who finished 12th in the Eastern Conference last season.

But Messi returned to the fold two games ago, scoring off the bench in a draw against Colorado, before he bagged a goal and an assist in a 3-2 win against Sporting Kansas City, putting Miami top of their conference.

Manager Martino detailed that the performance was of comfort to him, especially given it puts his side at the top of the table.

“Being first in the standings is comforting, especially with a long week ahead,” he said after the game.

“It was very important for us to get out of that rut of getting ties, losses, making mistakes, and we were able to do that, to regain the feeling that we can win at the end of a long, tough week.”

Miami will hope that run can continue in their next few games, which should be easier on paper, with 14th-placed Eastern Conference side Nashville up next, before a trip to 15th-placed New England the following game.

Those precede a big tie at the top of the Eastern Conference, when Miami face second-placed New York Red Bulls, though Miami will hope to have built up a head of steam by that point after facing two of the weaker teams in the current standings.

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