Following last weekend’s frustrating draw with Parma, Inter went into this week staring at away trips to Brescia and Bologna.
Over the past nine years, we have seen Inter come unstuck so often in these types of games (we hate you Sassuolo). Through some key individual performances and managerial nouse, Inter have returned maximum points from both games. Let’s delve into how Inter are starting to erode their ‘pazza’ reputation.
Character & Structure Under Conte Make Inter More Resilient
In Luciano Spaletti’s first season in charge, we saw Inter head into this part of the season at the summit and a number of Interisti began to speculate if the days of ‘crazy Inter’ were over.
However, a 3-1 defeat at home to Udinese led to a seven match winless run and the season ended with the side scraping into fourth on the last day rather than a title challenge.
This year feels different though, Inter in whichever way possible have been able to grab maximum points from all of their away matches.
Trips to Sassuolo, Cagliari and now to Brescia and Bologna would have ended in poor draw or sloppy defeats but this year Inter have returned to Milan with three points from each of those fixtures. Inter are finding new ways to win matches like they haven’t before and this tells us that Conte is making them winners. At this stage, Scudetto challenge is on.
Write Lukaku Off At Your Peril
It is easy to listen to fans of Manchester United who constantly moan over Lukaku and his ‘first touch issues’, but Lukaku is as good of a goal scorer than Inter would hope to have.
United fans fail to mention that Lukaku managed nearly 150 goals in the Premier League across spells at Old Trafford, West Brom and Everton. He’s also managed over half a century of international goals but most importantly, he now has nine goals for the Nerazzuri in eleven league games.
This impressive tally happens to be the equal best record for an Inter player in that number of games, the man he shares the record with? His idol Ronaldo.
His link up play with Lautaro Martinez and his ability to poach goals when in really matters is really encouraging. Conte finally has his hands on a player that he has always wanted. Mauro who?
Valentino Lazaro Has Something To Offer
Premature whisperings of the ‘next Dalbert’ have been bouncing around Interisti Twitter, however, we have now got the chance to see the Austrian in action and he didn’t disappoint.
Finally getting his first start on Saturday against Bologna, Lazaro provided some attacking trickery as well as physical hard running up and down the right flank.
We’ve seen Candreva put in some reborn performances in that position recently and there’s the option of D’Ambrosio, but for me Lazaro has more running in his legs and more skill to unlock the opposition defences from wing-back.
In Conte’s 3-5-2 or 3-4-3, his wing-backs must be able to offer something in the final third due to the absence of traditional wingers. In the squad, Lazaro is the most comfortable player in that area of the field and the most likely to beat his man and hit the byline to cross for Lukaku.
Yes we haven’t seen much of him, but his performance against Bologna demonstrated that he can certainly offer something to this squad as a right wing-back.
Will Gagliardini Ever Fulfill His Potential?
Rewind to January 2017 and you have Inter buzzing over the signing of Roberto Gagliardini. A young, energetic, Italian midfielder with top flight experience, there was bound to be hype around his arrival.
However, we sit in November 2019 and we still haven’t seen what player Gagliardini really is.
Last term we’d see him put in a storming performance, such as braces in both fixtures against Genoa last term, and then we wouldn’t see him for a few weeks.
He rolled his sleeves up and battled hard in the 3-2 derby win in March and then he was dropped back to the bench for the next games.
We’ve now has the chance to see him start Inter’s last five matches due to the absence of Stefano Sensi and we can’t honestly say we’ve been convinced by any pf his displays. Have Inter just upgraded with the arrivals if Sensi and Barella? Or is Gagliardini going to prove us wrong and finally grab that starting shirt? I honestly don’t know but as time ticks, he’s running out of faith from Interisti.
Nerazzurri Fans Fully Behind This Inter
Last term we saw Inter top average attendance charts for home support in the league, a record we have seen them maintain so far this year. Back to back away games have seen Nerazzuri lovers hit the road and back their side and help pull them to two victories.
Yes there is sections of the support who let the club down but the fans are getting their reward for getting behind the club after a difficult nine years.
After watching Juve – Genoa in a nearly empty stadium on Wednesday night, it proved to me just how deserving the Interisti who have backed and continue to back the side are of a team who are battling for the Scudetto.
These fans have watched the Jonathans, Rocchis, Nagatomos and Ruben Bottas, now they’re seeing Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku pull apart the defences of this league and Samir Handanovic doing his best Gandalf impression to let no one pass.
Inter have the best manager in the league and are putting together a team capable of challenging the top. It is an exciting time to be an Interisti. Be patient, Conte is only just getting started..