Max De Luca – What We Learned From Inter’s 5-4 Loss To Fiorentina

April 28, 2017 13:00
( 28 ) Comment


Inter pushed the self-destruct button on the 2016-17 season when they crashed to a 5-4 defeat against Fiorentina on Saturday. It’s little consolation to Nerazzurri supporters that the squad waited until the second last week of April to implode as usually the inevitable collapse comes much earlier in the campaign.

A convincing argument can be made that Erick Thohir’s decision to relieve Roberto Mancini of his duties two weeks before the season started led Inter down the road to perdition, but the Nerazzurri were very much in the race for a Champions League spot in mid-March before the wheels came off in spectacular fashion.

Inter’s conceded 13 goals during its current five-game winless run and has collected just two points since thrashing Atalanta 7-1 on March 17. The Nerazzurri haven’t kept a clean sheet in over two months and surrendered four goals and a penalty during a disastrous 20-minute spell against the Viola on Saturday.

Inter was down 1-0 against Fiorentina before Ivan Perisic and Mauro Icardi put the Nerazzurri on top, but for the second time in as many weeks they failed to parlay a halftime lead into three points. A comedy of errors at the back – highlighted by the ineptitude of Inter’s fullbacks – saw a 2-1 lead turn into a 5-1 deficit in the blink of an eye.

Danilo D’Ambrosio has reverted back to his factory settings after signing a contract extension in early April and Yuto Nagatomo reminded us once again why he should remain permanently affixed to the bench. Gary Medel had his worst performance as a central defender in an Inter shirt as he made Khouma Babacar look like George Weah.

Icardi was the only player who could hold his head high after the game, scoring twice in quick succession to give Inter a sliver of hope but it was too little, too late as the Nerazzurri slumped to another disappointing defeat.

So it’s on to the newest Year Zero at Appiano Gentile as the Nerazzurri hope to figure out how to challenge for a top-four finish next season.

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

The Defense Needs a Major Overhaul

In retrospect a backline consisting of D’Ambrosio, Medel, Miranda and Nagatomo was always going to leak goals, but the ease with which Fiorentina sliced through the defense was particularly frustrating.

Inter had 10 men behind the ball for the first three Fiorentina goals but was powerless to stop the likes of Matias Vecino – who had been held scoreless in the previous 32 Serie A matches – from finding the back of the net on two occasions.

In a scene that perfectly illustrated the Nerazzurri’s incompetence at the back, D’Ambrosio conceded a penalty after Nagatomo inexplicably directed a header towards his own goal despite zero pressure from any Fiorentina forwards. It was amateur hour, stuff you see in Sunday leagues by hungover, out-of-shape hacks.

Inter must start its summer mercato with two fullbacks – preferably Ricardo Rodriguez and Bernard Mendy – along with a world-class central defender (Kostas Manolas) if it plans on returning among the Serie A elite.

Pioli is a Dead Man Walking

Inter hasn’t had the same manager for two straight pre-seasons since Jose Mourinho from 2008-10 and the trend is likely to continue as the Nerazzurri are almost certain to part ways with Stefano Pioli at the end of the season.

Pioli was given a Sisyphean task and made the best of it for a few months but it was always going to be an uphill battle. The Nerazzurri would probably benefit from some stability in their coaching ranks but the club gave Pioli the dreaded vote of confidence earlier in the week.

“Inter confirms its backing of the ownership in Stefano Pioli and his technical staff,” a press release from Inter stated. “Pioli joined Inter at a difficult time and the work he has carried out with his staff since he joined Inter in November has been exceptional and deserves our full respect.”

Steven Zhang is reportedly ready to throw millions at Diego Simeone and give him carte blanche over sporting decisions, but it’s far from being a done deal while other lesser candidates like Luciano Spalletti have been rumoured as potential replacements in the press. This is a decision that Inter must get right as it will reverberate throughout the club for years to come.

Icardi Still Cares

While most of the Inter players checked out in the second half Icardi was still fighting for a result against Fiorentina. The Inter captain scored two late goals en route to his second hattrick in six games to give the Nerazzurri a slim chance of salvaging a draw.

He fought to the end, that’s what captains do, unlike the majority of his teammates who threw in the towel after Fiorentina’s fifth goal. He cares for the club, that much is obvious. His anguish after the final whistle in the draw with Milan was evident for everyone to see. He loves Inter but it’s a love that hasn’t been reciprocated of late.

Icardi has scored nine goals in his last eight games and is one strike behind Andrea Belotti and Edin Dzeko in the race for the capocannoniere, which is a minor miracle given his tribulations on and off the field earlier in the season.

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 @Massimo_DeLuca1

Cammy Anderson
By Cammy Anderson
  • Ahmed A.Marouf

    Our greatest transfer since 2010 is Mauro Icardi! I love him as much as I love Milito and Recoba.

    • I miss Marco Branca at Inter !

      Only Marco Branca can pull off that kind of deal but don’t forget Handanovic !! He should be the Sporting Director for Inter he was awesome 🙂

  • syahrul sembarang

    I miss the first 25 minute against fiorentina at our home. If only we could play continuously like that again.

    • Amin Sadrnejad

      Too hard to understand what’s wrong with this team. They collapse suddenly and in one month they throw away everything they have done in a season.

      Last year it was January when we fell from 1st to 5th, this year it was March and April.

      • Daniel

        I think it is def a mental issue. The decline was right after the draw against Torino (i saw the team really trying to win) but with CL hopes basically gone they stopped caring. Our squad is very young and sometimes lacks that “champion’s” mentality. Pioli failed to keep them motivated, and there are no enough players that can influence the rest. We dont have a player that yells or claps the others during the game trying to keep them focused

        • I miss Marco Branca at Inter !

          how do you expect this team to have the “champion’s” mentality when you finish 6th 9th 5th 8th 4th and now 7th in the last 6 years ?? money will not resolve this, you will have to wait for juventus to fall and that’s never going to happen !

          • Daniel

            I dont think its like that man. I think there are 2 options. One of them would be bringing big players who are used to win trophies or at least that they value the jersey they are wearing so they can transfer that to the rest of the team. Would be more than one of course. And another option is the coach. Best example Cholo, he has taken Atletico to a whole other level, won la liga and goes all the way to CL final. He didnt need for Real or Barca to fall, thats the wrong mentality

          • I miss Marco Branca at Inter !

            bring in a champion ? like who ? who’s available on the market ? and if you do bring one in does that player have the ability to motivate this team or is that champion going to say “nobody else cares on this team so why should I ” ? and for Cholo, Athletico has a great team, to get those results you need a good team and inter has a decent team at best, nothing close to greatness.

          • Daniel

            Man we could argue forever about this. But back to el cholo. HE made that team great, he taught the players to fight everyball and he made them big. Do u know where atletico was before cholo?

          • JAY

            rube will fall with the VAR confirmed for the next season

          • I miss Marco Branca at Inter !

            scudettos are won on the field not in a video conference room…..who knows how to do that better than Juventus !

          • JAY

            than winning it not on the pitch yes rube knows how to get simcards from different country to call refs

          • I miss Marco Branca at Inter !

            I suppose Crotone did the same thing when they beat Inter 2-1……..

          • JAY

            what ever out team is , it was never associated with bribing

          • I miss Marco Branca at Inter !

            let’s look at the last 6 years for inter: 6th 9th 5th 8th 4th 7th…..3 owners, what like 6 coaches ? looks to me like the only thing inter is associated with is Mediocrity !

          • JAY

            rube fans don’t have pride

          • I miss Marco Branca at Inter !

            and i suppose spending a 100 million in the transfer market only to see Inter in 7th place behind teams like lazio, atalanta and AC Milan is a source of pride for Inter fans right ?

          • Winternazionale

            Your stats say inter could go 3rd next season. Nice calculation.

          • I miss Marco Branca at Inter !

            and is that something to be proud of ?

          • Winternazionale

            Yes, and I’m proud to be an interisti, and I’m proud that you’re in love with marco branca.

          • I miss Marco Branca at Inter !

            If you are a Juventino, 3RD PLACE IS A DISGRACE !! but if you are an Interista, 3RD PLACE IS SOMETHING TO BE PROUD OF … you see the difference in the winning mentality versus the losers mentality ??

          • Winternazionale

            Disgrace is the man who said it, it’s not about 1st place or 3rd place, it’s about honour and respect and sportmanship. Do you have them?

          • I miss Marco Branca at Inter !

            honour and respect and sportmanship doesn’t mean you give up on playing soccer because you know that you can win the scudetto, can’t make CL, can’t make EL and that you are a month away from an extended vacation. It means that you go out there and you give it 100 % of what you got….exactly like inter did with Crotone, they gave 100 % their absolute best effort possible on the field AND THEY STILL LOST 2-1 !!!!

          • Winternazionale

            You sound like a smartass guru here, how do you know that someone give 100% or 99%, are you somekind of god or something? Is crotone can never win against inter in this lifetime?

          • I miss Marco Branca at Inter !

            Inter did give their 100 % very best against inter because if they didn’t give their very best they would have and should have lost 5-0 !!

          • I miss Marco Branca at Inter !

            yes i definetely see inter players honoring the shirt every year for the last 6 years by finishing 6th 9th 5th 8th 4th and now 7th place !!!

          • Winternazionale

            And i sure know the difference between a winning mentality, loser mentality, and a troll mentality.

          • I miss Marco Branca at Inter !

            preaching the word of the Lord, or Allah or etc……is not trolling….would you agree ? here i am preaching the word of the greatest team in Italy….JUVENTUS !! same concept…..