Inter finished the 2018/19 season a massive 21 points behind Serie A winners Juventus. That is 7 wins behind the champions. Ultimately this is a bridge that most teams fail to cross. Inter’s downfall throughout the season was their own doing, with many issues contributing to this. Throughout this article we look at what issues where present, and what has Conte done to improve this.
Spalletti: Coaching ability
Throughout the season, the coaching of Spalletti was questioned. His lack of vision, and inability to change up his strategy was a challenge for Inter. Teams would pick up on Inter’s strategy and manipulate it throughout the season and take advantage of it.
On top of this, Inter had sanctions on the European squad, as well as a chaotic schedule. Spalletti failed to accommodate for the fitness levels of the squad, and poorly rotated the team.
What has changed?
Now that Spalletti has been replaced by Conte the team has now changed. The former Serie A winner with Juventus, EPL winner with Chelsea brings change to Inter. Throughout the preseason, Inter have had 3 matches: Manchester United (1-0 L), Juventus (1-1 L 4-3 Pen), PSG (1-1 W 6-5 Pen.)
Following the completion of these three matches, we have seen progress with the performance of the team. Inter has shown great capacity with the ball, retaining possession and moving the ball up the pitch well. Further this, the defensive wall that Inter has prided themselves on has only been reinforced.
For the duration of the 18/19 season, team attitude was a major factor throughout the season, sometimes costing Inter results. Entering matches with a complacent attitude, approaching ‘smaller’ teams with a different mentality. Furthermore, the mentality of the team throughout matches was also an issue. The Inter fans throughout the world would have multiple metaphorical heart attack through the season. Reason for this was that they would lack the ability to put the ‘Stake through the hearts’ of their opponents. They would concede late sloppy goals, and lack motivation moving forward, thinking that ‘the job was done’.
What has changed?
With the introduction of Conte to the squad, so much has changed from the outset. The players where extensively pushed throughout the preseason training. This resulted in multiple players looking as if they were completely exhausted and pushed to their limits. Further this, certain players have shown some extreme improvements from the previous seasons. Conte has highlighted the improvements in players like Dalbert, Candreva and Perisic.
The players showed extreme endurance in last three friendlies. Playing the in the Asian heat with even Conte requiring a couple of shirt changes, they looked like they could continue for another 90 minutes.
On top of the preseason training, Conte has notably announced the that both former captain Mauro Icardi, and Raja Nainggolan (Who has only played one season with Inter) will no longer be included the squad. Looking to sell the players and improve the attitude of the team, Conte is taking no answers for players stepping out of line.
Personnel – Both players and behind the scenes.
Inter have lacked that special something since the renowned 2010 treble. They have lacked the players, the ability to bring the players, and the coaching and behind the scenes staff. This has been a slow process for Inter over the years. They have lacked the right coach, technical staff, players and the right owners.
What has changed?
Inter have transitioned over the years, moving through the motions in order to bring the best to Inter. Sunning has now bought a majority stake in Inter, with a owner who has been extremely involved in Inter’s day to day affairs, nothing better can be asked of him. Always looking to do what is best for Inter since his purchase in 2016.
Giuseppe Marotta was brought over in the middle of the 18/19 season. Marotta was responsible for the transfer if Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid, in the Serie A’s largest ever transfer. His negotiation skills are impeccable and tends to push until he achieves his target.
Although the backend staff do their best to ensure that the players are the best they can be. The only people that win games are the players on the pitch and Inter have started to rebuild their team. Key defender Skriniar has just resigned a contract extension to keep him at the club for another 4 years. On top of that they have obtained Diego Godin on a free transfer to reinforce their defensive line.
In the midfield Inter were extremely active redeeming Politano from Sassuolo, purchasing Sensi also from Sassuolo ($7.3m) as well as Lazaro from Hertha Berlin ($32m). Sensi has already shown what he is capable of, in the preseason matches, appearing to be a bargain purchase. Lazaro was unfortunately injured and will be likely to debut for Inter in the Serie A.
Attacking is where Inter are truly lacking personnel. With Icardi being shown the door, Lautaro Martinez is Inter’s main striker at this current point in time. Conte has expressed interest in allowing 17-year-old Sebastiano Esposito to play a bigger part in Inter’s first team but he isn’t enough. Inter have been linked to the likes of Manchester United’s Lukaku, as well as Roma’s Dzeko. Most recently there was speculation of Inter approaching PSG’s Cavani, attempting to bring him back to the Serie A. Ultimately this appears to be the final piece to Inter’s puzzle heading into the Serie A season.
So, to answer the question ‘Can Inter climb the Ladder under Conte?’ quite simply, yes. Expanding on this leaves an impossible number of possibilities and scenarios, but ultimately yes. Throughout the article you have seen that there have been extensive improvements in the team in the off season. This is both on and off the field. In the end no one can predict the future but from the outset, Inter will definitely be a force in this upcoming campaign.