Terzo Tempo – A Good Start To Year Zero v7.0
Another season signals the start of another Inter project only this time everything is different as Inter are owned by a fortune 500 company, run by the best Sporting Director in Italy and coached by a man who has enjoyed recent success in the Serie A.
Not to mention the actual players in the squad are of the highest and most consistent quality that Inter have seen in almost a decade. Inter have hardly broken the bank this summer but instead have sold off players that Spalletti considers surplus to requirements only to replace them with players he’s specifically asked for. The policy used has been one in one out in order not to risk breaking UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules after Suning Group have moved heaven and earth when balancing the clubs finances this past June.
Ever Banega who signed on a free transfer was shipped back to Sevilla to be replaced by Borja Valero who was simply brilliant in the Pirlo-role in front of the defence tonight against his former team-mates from Florence. Also from Fiorentina, Matias Vecino was brought in to give Inter’s midfield the tenacity, dynamism and meanness that the squad has been lacking since Stankovic retired. He ran his former team-mates rugged today, putting pressure on Fiorentina’s midfield and defence allowing together with Brozovic allowing Borja Valero the time to pick out pinpointed passes to Candreva and Perisic to maraud down the flanks.
This in turn allowed Inter’s infamous achilles heel, the full-backs Nagatomo and D’Ambrosio to never be put under any real pressure which in turn afforded both of them that extra time they need to never be caught out of position in defence as well as help out and offer a real option in the final third of the pitch. Whenever Fiorentina were in a position to put pressure down the flanks, Candreva and above all Perisic sprinted back to help out allowing Inter to defend as a unit.
Up front Mauro Icardi was as lethal as he’s ever been, timing his runs with perfection causing the Viola defence all sorts of problems. His performance was really quite astounding given that he’s been injured for most of the pre-season and he looked incredibly fit and his timing was immaculate. The indicidual performances were great but this is entirely down to Spalletti whose tactics were absolutely spot on. As Icardi pointed out, Spalletti has in a very short period of time managed to create a positive environment as well as unity inside the dressingroom which allows for all players to give everything they have and then some. Although it is early days, it is abundantly clear that Spalletti’s leadership is very honest and direct, there is no confusion as to who does what and when and how which creates the stability Inter have not had since May 22nd 2010.
Stability and clarity are the key words of this Inter as the clubs directors and owners have supported Spalletti 110% so far which has afforded the former Roma tactician to implement his ideas fully, both on and off the pitch. It is as mentioned still early days, but for the first time in almost a decade, the Nerazzurri are acting from a place of strength derived from unity which starts at the very top in the boardroom and runs down like a thread to the day to day management of the club. What Inter must do now is to stick to this during difficult periods when faced with problems which always arise during the course of a season.
In less than 7 days Inter will encounter their first real problem of the season that will need fixing against AS Roma away at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday night. Inter’s reaction and attitude when taking on this upcoming challenge will be a very good indication as to what kind of season the Nerazzurri will have when attempting to at least partially answer the million dollar question that has been so difficult to answer successfully for the better part of a decade: Is this version of Inter the real thing? Only then can we know if Inter year zero v 7.0 truly is the dawn of a new beginning or yet again merely the beginning of the end.