Inter may have been mere spectators in this week’s Champions League Quarter Finals, but in my view there were various scenarios that could apply to our situation, and lessons to be learned.
Let’s initiate this article with the most obvious one:
1. From group of death to semifinals
Before the competition started, we all knew that our group was the hardest one with Barcelona, Tottenham and PSV. What we’ve learned this week was that it was even harder than we may have imagined. It needs to be highlighted that both teams who progressed from our group have now reached the semi-final, and could even possibly be the final of the competition.
Furthermore, PSV, who the Italian media quickly labelled them as only a formality to be beaten, have been dominating Ajax for the past years and are still neck-to-neck with them for this year’s title. Despite all this, Inter were on the verge of qualifying and had the same points of the English side.
Now, I’m not saying this reasoning heals all our wounds and erases our grudge for not qualifying from that group. I still believe that with a little more conviction in the last game, we could have completed a great feat against such formidable opponents.
It also shows that our current level may not be such below par as we may think. Remember, Tottenham only progressed at our expense due to an away goal, nothing more…
2. Defense is key
You don’t go far if you don’t have a solid defence. Look at Manchester City. From the midfield upwards they leave you in awe as you see them play, and boast some of the greatest European stars in their attacking-minded lineup. But they always failed to progress far, and this year was no exception. They conceded three goals against Tottenham on their own turf, and this meant elimination.
The same applies for Atletico Madrid, who let a two-goal advantage slip away from their hands after conceding three goals in one game to Juventus.
On this point, we look rather good defensively. Skriniar and De Vrij have been quite solid at the back, with Miranda a suitable replacement. This line-up will be further improved with the arrival of Diego Godin from Atletico Madrid, an experienced defender who will certainly contribute to our defensive qualities.
3. The Transfer market may not always be the solution
As Inter supporters, we have a tendency to look at the Transfer Market as the sole solution to address all our woes, especially after a negative season. Maybe because we got used to the pharaonic transfer sessions carried out by Moratti two decades ago.
But let’s look at some of the protagonists in the Quarter final who show us a different picture. Juventus boasted about the ‘deal of the century’ after buying Ronaldo €100Million, but this was not enough to qualify against a young Ajax team who fielded academy players with a lot of potential. Tottenham Hotspurs did not sign one single player in Summer, and despite being injury-plagued in the past days, they are now in the semis.
This is also what Marotta said earlier this week, underlining that Inter need to be strengthened with carefully chosen players and not with a widespread overhaul of the current squad. He said that Inter will target specific players with a winning-mentality to assist in Inter’s continuous growth and development.
Let’s hopefully keep these three lessons in our mind when we start planning the upcoming season.
James J Piscopo is a journalist based in Malta. At 27 years old, he has been following Inter for more than two decades. He writes a weekly editorial exclusively for SempreInter.com.