Inter ended a three-game Serie A slide with a 2-1 victory over Torino on Wednesday. Mauro Icardi scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner in the 88th minute, to ensure that manager Frank de Boer survives for another week.
Inter desperately needed a victory to stop the bleeding and secured three points despite almost throwing it away in classic Nerazzurri style after a self-inflicted wound in the second half.
The win sees Inter climb up to 10th place in the league table, which is a far cry from the Champions League spot I predicted them to hold by the end of October – not the first nor the last time the Nerazzurri have made me look foolish – but at the end of the day a win is a win.
Here’s what we learned from Inter’s triumph at San Siro:
Icardi has his mojo back
Maurito put a difficult two weeks behind him by doing what a true captain should do: (hint: it’s not writing an autobiography at 22), leading his team to victory. Icardi received a helping hand from Torino goalkeeper Joe Hart to score the opener as the former England No. 1 parried an over hit pass from Antonio Candreva off the shins of the Inter captain, who might not score an easier goal in his career.
Icardi’s game winner two minutes from time didn’t have the slightest hint of fortune in it as he held off his defender and unleashed a rocket that zoomed into the top corner to give the Nerazzurri a morale-boosting win.
The Curva Nord seems to be digging in for a long battle with the club’s captain but performances like the one we saw on Wednesday can help begin the fence-mending process.
Medel suspension a blessing in disguise
Gary Medel is still a useful player – his bombastic performance against Juventus is a good example – but his three-game ban for elbowing Jasmin Kurtic in the 2-1 loss to Atalanta might be beneficial for Inter.
De Boer deployed Ever Banega, Joao Mario and Marcelo Brozovic in midfield to great effect as Inter created a plethora of chances and were unlucky to only score two goals.
Banega should never be left out of the lineup when healthy and pulled the strings in midfield, which is why it was so confounding when the Argentine international was left out against Atalanta.
Joao Mario was active in both halves of the field while Brozovic could’ve easily bragged a brace if not for some bad luck that is plaguing him at the moment. This was as a creative midfield as we’ve seen at Inter this season and I would like to see more of it going forward.
De Boer is safe…for now
Inter did not pull the plug on the De Boer experiment after the game on Wednesday but the Dutchman received the dreaded vote of confidence from club president Erick Thohir, which is never a good omen for a manager.
Laurent Blanc, Marco Silva and Leonardo are the leading candidates to replace De Boer should (when) Inter’s top brass decide to pull the trigger but Nerazzurri supporters should not be wishing for his dismissal.
Three managers in three months isn’t exactly a blueprint for success and the most ideal scenario is that De Boer turns things around in time to make a run at a Champions League spot.
If Inter begin to falter once again and Thohir does pull the trigger, I’d like to see Walter Zenga hired as a caretaker manager before throwing a suitcase full of cash in front of Diego Simeone in the summer.
Inter need a shakeup in central defence
The sorry state of the Nerazzurri’s fullbacks has been well documented in previous columns but the club needs a makeover in the centre of defence as well. I like Miranda and Murillo as much as the next guy but there have been too many mistakes from the duo this season.
The club might be well served to bring in a top-class centre back to pair with one of the South Americans. We’ve seen what they both have to offer and most of the time it’s a solid pairing but their partnership has reached its ceiling and it’s time to explore other options.
Max De Luca is a journalist based in Toronto, Canada and has been published on Reuters, CBC, Yahoo, Goal, USA Today and many more. Starting today and every Wednesday, Max will pen a column exclusively for SempreInter.com discussing the most pressing topics of the day.
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