This time last year, we were on top of the league. Even the year before. But for some reason, Inter’s fortunes always took a downturn in the winter months. I was reminded of this by a fellow Nerazzurro just after the demolition of Genoa last week, but I dismissed this as mere superstition.
Yet here we are. Just days after that huge win, we suffered a humiliating loss of our own against Atalanta. Humiliating in terms of both the final result, but also in terms of the football played. Can the Atalanta loss be justified? And should we fear another winter?
1. Even Mourinho lost there
This was one of the silliest reasons that I could never digest. Eight years have passed since the treble season, both Inter and Atalanta changed every single player since then, and you still see fans justifying each Atalanta loss with the only slip that Mourinho had during his tenure. This is surely not the winning mentality needed at an ambitious club.
2. Players were too tired
Now we are talking more sense. Those who played against Barcelona spent a huge share of energy and concentration as required by such big games. It is fair to think that this was one of the reasons which hindered Inter throughout the game. But with this in mind, a natural questions comes to mind: Why did Spalletti didn’t make use of fresh, unused players? Players like Dalbert, Candreva, Lautaro Martinez and the resuscitated Joao Mario?
3. Tactical Nightmare
In my opinion, this was the main reason. Spalletti opted for a 4-3-3 while Gasperini continuously spurred his players to play wide and fast, leading to numerical superiority on the flanks most of the time. What surprised me was the lack of reaction by Spalletti. I reiterate that you can always have a couple of players who have an off day, but when the whole team performs badly it revolves around the wrong tactic.
4. Further repercussions?
My main preoccupation is that all the confirmations and reassurances that Inter built one game after the other may have been eroded away with Atalanta. Not because I don’t have faith in Spalletti, but only because in the past years we have seen the same trend. A series of consecutive victories, a solid defence, and an overall promising side which then falls in abyss after a negative streak.
If you ask for my opinion, I still believe Inter can move ahead without the fear of another terrible winter. We ‘only’ need a draw in London against Tottenham to qualify, and that would be a remarkable feat already which should give us another boost to our morale. In recent outings Inter also played very attractive yet solid football, and the remarkable wins against Lazio and Genoa may serve to remind us we’re on the good track. So for now, another winter hibernation should only remain as a nightmare. Let’s hope it does not become a reality, once again.
James J Piscopo is a journalist based in Malta. 27 years old, he has been following Inter for more than two decades. He writes a weekly editorial exclusively for SempreInter.com