Max De Luca – What We Learned From Inter’s 3-1 Loss To Roma

March 2, 2017 17:30
( 10 ) Comment


I thought it was going to be different this time around; I really did. That’s why this one stings so much. I had trouble sleeping on Saturday night and I know that I wasn’t the only one. Heck, I even know of an Interista who went to bed with his full kit on.

We were ready, dammit. Ready to let out five years worth of frustration. Ready to send a message to the rest of Serie A that Inter were back. Ready to take a big step towards a Champions League berth. Except that we weren’t ready at all.

We were drunk with anticipation and it must have impaired our better judgement. How did we expect to beat Roma – who had scored 10 goals their previous three league matches – with a three-man backline, which was missing its best defender in Miranda?

We believed that Inter were legitimate contenders but their bubble burst in spectacular fashion during the Sunday evening posticipo. The Nerazzurri were outclassed and outgunned by Roma as Radja Nainggolan decimated Inter’s defense with two ferociously struck goals.

Inter showed some fighting spirit as Mauro Icardi stretched out to meet Ivan Perisic’s low cross to cut Roma’s lead in half in the 81st minute, but it was too little, too late as Diego Perotti slotted home from the penalty spot four minutes later to seal the Nerazzuri’s fate.

Inter’s Champions League hopes took a major hit as they fell six points behind Napoli in third place and to make matters worse, Atalanta and Lazio both leapfrogged the Nerazzurri on what turned out to be a sobering night at San Siro.

Here’s what we learned from Inter’s disheartening defeat:

Nerazzurri Not Ready For Next Step

There’s nothing worse than getting all decked out for a party only to have the festivities fall way short of the mark. The Meazza was ready to ring in a new Inter renaissance but the hosts were woefully unprepared for the realities of battling the top teams in the peninsula.

Inter have won nine of their last 11 league matches but both of their defeats came to the 1st and 2nd placed teams in Serie A. Beating Bologna is one thing but the likes of Juve and Roma are a much different proposition all together.

Inter’s defensive warts were cruelly exposed as Gary Medel and Jeison Murillo proved no match for Nainggolan, Edin Dzeko and the rest of the rampant Roman cavalry.

The Nerazzurri have been outscored 7-1 against the top three clubs in Serie A since Stefano Pioli took the reins and must find a way to win direct encounters against teams above them in the table.

Pioli has Inter moving in the right direction but reaching the Promised Land this year seems one mile too many.

Pioli Gets It Wrong

‘In Pioli We Trust’ was a common refrain when the lineups were announced ahead of Sunday’s clash. Pioli’s curious decision to stick with a three-man defense despite the absence of Miranda, who was suspended, raised a few eyebrows, but most were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Pioli should be commended for salvaging a bleak situation at Appiano Gentile. He has turned a bumbling, dysfunctional squad into a well-organized, competent outfit but he got it woefully wrong against Roma.

Marcelo Brozovic had no business being thrown straight back into the starting lineup after missing the previous games with a foot injury. He looked like a Serie B player and was mercifully yanked off the pitch before an hour was played.

Antonio Candreva was somehow even worse and Roberto Gagliardini was left isolated against Nainggolan, who chewed up and spit the young Italian out like an eight-year old gleefully popping one Bazooka Joe into his mouth after another.

The two-month debacle under Frank de Boer has unfortunately left Inter with no room for error. It’s not fair to Pioli but it’s the reality of the current situation. I still think Pioli is the man for the job and I hope he is given another season but Luciano Spalletti taught him a lesson on Sunday. A lesson Pioli and Inter must absorb if they hope to return to the Italian elite.

Max De Luca is a journalist based in Toronto, Canada and has been published on Reuters, CBC, Yahoo, Goal, USA Today and many more. Every week Max pens a column exclusively for discussing the most pressing topics of the past week.

Do you agree with Max? Discuss in comments and follow him on twitter.

Editorial Staff
By Editorial Staff
  • frigo

    Our problem is that we constantly jump, from one extremeness to another. When we made a few wins in a row no matter how, we starting to think that we’re scudetto contender. And when we lose from any of the best teams in Italy, we starting to explain, how poor we are and that we’re too far from top three. But the truth is somewhere in the middle.

    We wasn’t so bad against Juventus and Roma and it’s obvious thar they are still ahead in their projects, but the difference is in the small details. Especially against Roma, they have one of the best, if not the best attack in Italy, but we doesn’t let them to create almost nothing dangerous in front of Handanovic. Those goals from Nainggolan was great, but they are very difficult and except quality, you need a little luck to score twice like that. You know, Raja is great player, but how many times he scored two goals like that in one game? Sadly, Gagliardini was schooled badly by Nainggolan this game, not just because of the goals, but in general. And bring him back to earth, showing him that he’s still young and have a lot more to learn.

    Anyway, we still have our serious problems with fullbacks, with sluggish, predictable play in midfield, lacking creativity and lacking speed in attack. Plus our total inability to use set pieces to create opportunities and score. We need our midfielders to score and create more, if we want to be competitive on highest level. I won’t discuss the three man defense or the system of Pioli, but the things that I’m disappointed are his strange desire to change his game plan and mirroring opponent style. I think that he’s too conservative, when play against top teams. I’m wondering when his patience according Candreva will end?

  • Aaron

    If he plays with 4 and we lose ..everyone would have been calling for a back 3…come on people..our fullbacks are shit..don’t be eluded by dambrosio’s decent form now..he’s still a rotation player at best..though my only criticism would be playing brozo..banega should have played instead..also my word candreva what’s going on with him? Ik he’s being asked to track back but the few times he’s got in decent positions to cross it was just as bad as any of our fullbacks crossing…jeez.

  • Deddy Kristian Aritonang

    Roma are definitely stronger than us. Pioli was blamed to deploy a three-man defense strategy. A lot of people expected him to use four players at the back but if he had done it and we had the same result, people would have also criticized him for not employing three players because it is very clear that our fullbacks are below par of Roma’s attacking players such as Nainggolan and Salah. Pioli must have thought that was his best tactic, but we had to admit that Roma is one level above us. However, I still believe Inter can compete for the third spot considering Napoli’s difficult fixtures in the next games.

  • sleimani

    I blame the 3 at the back, while it can work against weaker opposition when you need to commit more men forward… it fails against the big teams who play football. We need 4 and only 4 at the back, with Danilo playing decently I really was expecting pioli to bring in yogatomo to cover Salah. The 4-2-3-1 is our best formation with gagliardini and kdog as the double pivots, I think pioli has realized that.

    There’s nothing like hindsight but if he played Murillo in the right, danilo on the left and medel + andreolli i think we would have been more solid defensively. I don’t understand why andreolli doesn’t play and rano did when andreolli went to Sevilla and showed he can play at a good level.

    I think the tactics cost us the match, you can’t expect candreva and Perisic to cover the entire flank… and by doing so you nullify their attacking input leaving only icardi and joao mario to make something happen… also leaving Banega on the bench in a big game is criminal. Don’t forget for Argentina Banega was deployed as a CMF, his defensive game is poor but he should definitely be deployed often. I’m all for giving him the amf spot and benching an underperforming candreva , have mario play in candreva spot.

    Sell candreva over Perisic this summer please!

    • Amin Sadrnejad

      More than agree

    • Amin Sadrnejad

      The choice of playing with 3 d was too coward

  • bajaninter

    We aren’t far from the top 3. As good as they played, and I keep repeating myself we had as much half chances as them. They didn’t threaten our goal as much either. Just looked pretty around it.

  • interista13

    Pioli certainly got his player choices, formation, and tactics wrong, but I don’t think there’s anything he could’ve done different that would’ve stopped Nainggolan from putting forth that performance. The ONLY factor that I could say would’ve definitely been a help, is if Miranda wasn’t suspended. He’s the pillar of our defense, and even with their current form, Medel, Murillo and Handanovic certainly suffer without him!

  • shegow

    we learned something that we already knew Roma are stronger than Inter so are juve and napoli, We had no match against rampant Nianngglan,
    I hope Roma win against Napoli and we win against Cagliari that will be another opportunity

  • DonKavexo

    what the fuck is that? – “who chewed up and spit the young Italian out like an eight-year old
    gleefully popping one Bazooka Joe into his mouth after another.”