The new year for the Nerazurri is full of ups and downs. However, a worrying trend in Inter’s performance can be seen in the last two months.
The ‘big’ games were Inter’s Achilles heel during the first part of the season. The team managed to turn things around but lost its balance in the process.
Before the World Cup break Inter were criticized for their performance in the derbies. Inzaghi’s team lost to AC Milan, Lazio, Roma, and Juventus. During these games, the team conceded ten goals and scored only four. This statistic was unacceptable and Inzaghi’s team showed improvement right before the break.
Inter won in Bergamo versus a strong Atalanta to end the first part of a season with a hope for a more stable performance after the break. The first game in January was an excellent win versus the best team in the league Napoli. The expectations were once again big and the dreams for the Scudetto were alive. However, this excitement lasted just three days. Later this week Inter failed to win versus Monza. And sadly, this wasn’t an incident, but the beginning of a worrying trend in Inter’s performance.
Milan is once again black and blue! The prize? Five lost points versus Empoli and Sampdoria.
Less than two weeks later Inter traveled to Riyadh to face Milan for the Super Cup. That was probably Inter’s best game this season. Very stable in defense, leaving little to nothing for Onana during the night, and on the other hand clinical in attack scoring three beautiful goals. A deserved victory and another cup for Simone Inzaghi’s Inter. Unfortunately, three days later we saw a team that lost to Empoli at “Giuseppe Meazza”. The gap between the quality shown on the pitch in the two games had to be a signal for Inzaghi and his team.
The same pattern could be easily seen after the second Derby della Madonnina. The Rossoneri were outplayed and beaten once again by Inzaghi’s men. However, in the next game, a struggling Sampdoria managed to get a draw out of an apathetic Inter, which obviously didn’t look invested enough in the fixture.
Even the European glory can’t help the team find the needed consistency.
And we finish with last week’s performance. Inter controlled a very difficult and important game versus Porto in the Champions League. The Nerazzuri secured a crucial lead before the second leg and made an important step toward their most important goal of the season. Still, yesterday at Stadio Renato Dall’Ara we didn’t see the same desire and determination. Bologna won comfortably and could have easily scored more after numerous errors by the majority of Inter’s players.
It’s time to find the balance before it’s too late.
The worrying trend in Inter’s performance is clear and Inzaghi should address it sooner, rather than later. He is the person responsible for these issues and he should be the one to solve them if he wants his job to be safe for the next campaign. The inconsistent results before the World Cup were partly justified by the injuries of Gosens, Lukaku, and Brozovic. Since the beginning of January Inzaghi can almost use 100% of the squad. Inter is one of the teams with the best bench in Italy, so rotation also shouldn’t be an issue. Suning could have definitely done a much better job supporting the coach during the summer. Yet, having Lukaku, Gosens, Dumfries, Asllani, De Vrij, and Mkhitaryan as the first options besides the original starting line up is a luxury that a few other coaches in Serie A have.
Inter proved that the team is capable of beating Napoli, Porto, and Milan twice with a goal difference of 6-0. However, the same approach is missing in the games versus ‘smaller teams’. The draw versus Monza was probably a turning point, as it practically handled Napoli the Scudetto. Still, if Inter continues to underestimate every second fixture, the team’s place in the top four could be at risk. If the team fails to qualify for next year’s Champions League, we are going to talk about a financial catastrophe. That would also mean that Simone Inzaghi will most likely lose his job.
A dramatic final part of the season awaits.
There are many brilliant tacticians in the world of football. Inzaghi is definitely one of them. But in a club like Inter, the job requires more. The coach must be able to prepare his team for every game in the best way possible. Nobody expects Inter to win the Scudetto anymore. Despite that, a team with such quality shouldn’t be involved in a battle to secure a Champions League spot. A team with such quality should outplay its opponents from the bottom half of the table. A team with such quality should have already opened a bigger gap to the fifth in the standings. This would have given Inzaghi an opportunity to concentrate calmly on the Champions League and Coppa Italia fixtures. But this is Inter. Every sign is pointing to another rollercoaster of emotions until the very end of the season. All we can do is enjoy the ride.