Simone Inzaghi endured arguably his toughest week as Inter manager this week but finished on a positive note in Reggio Emilia on Saturday evening.
Another frustrating draw away at Shakhtar saw their Champions League woes continue and lead to yet more questions about why Inter can’t do it in Europe.
Things also looked very ominous for a good hour away at Sassuolo on Saturday night until and Edin Dzeko masterclass allowed Inter to come back from behind to win 2-1 at the Mapei.
Here is what we learned this week from Inter.
1) Credit Where Credit Is Due – Simone’s Subs Won Sassuolo Game
Simone Inzaghi has often in his time been criticised heavily for his use of substitutions during his managerial career.
However on Saturday evening his brave and bold four man swap proved to be hugely effective.
Arturo Vidal was brought on to add steal and the introductions of Mateo Darmian and Federico DiMarco helped solidify the wide areas that Inter were losing.
However the icing on the cake was the arrival of Edin Dzeko to the field. ‘The Swan’ headed Inter level with his first touch before stretching the defence to win a penalty that allowed Inter to snatch the points.
Brave and bold pays off when executed correctly. Kudos to Simone.
2) Woeful Stefan De Vrij
The trip to Sassuolo saw arguably the worst performance in an Inter shirt from Stefan De Vrij.
The game’s hinge moment came from a dodgy back pass from the Dutchman which could’ve cost Samir Handanovic dearly.
Stepping up too high, poor distribution and some lacking communication saw something of a disasterclass dropped by the ex-Lazio man.
A rest might do him good?
3) Hakan Calhanoglu Is A Square Peg In A Round Hole
It is very clear to see why Inter brought in the Turkish maestro from their cross town rivals.
Available on a free and able to replace the ill Christian Eriksen at short notice, a no brainer right?
A good start in the first fixture against Genoa has however been the high watermark and Inter actually looked far better without him on the field on Saturday when he was hooked.
It is clear he is being asked to play a role he isn’t familiar with and it’s simply not feasible to change the system to simply accommodate him.
Should Eriksen return and Sensi ever be fit he’d be down the pecking order. Is this signing going to be a bust?
4) Edin Dzeko The Wily Old Swan
Being able to be call upon a man of Dzeko’s experience has so far been Simone Inzaghi’s prized trick.
The introduction of the Bosnian simply changed the game against Sassuolo. A goal with his first touch and a run which led to him winning a penalty that was converted by Lautaro Martinez.
His start in Inter colours has been truly outstanding with the player he seemed in his last 18 months at Roma now a distant memory.
A player who adds dimension to Inter’s attack and a true poacher. He must start ahead of Correa when possible.
5) Inter Must Bounce Back In The Champions League
Inter will have a break for internationals this week. Sure most players will jet off around the globe but it is a chance to assess where things are so far.
The start in the league has been solid but it is clear to see that Europe is the elephant in the room.
Inter battered Shakhtar in the Europa League just over twelve months ago yet since they’ve failed to score past them.
How can that be?
One point from two games leaves them floundering and set to face early pace setters and surprise package Sherrif Tiraspol.
A double whammy against the side who have maximum points so far is an absolute must but even then they will only be a point clear of them. This leaves Inter needing a near perfect run to make the knockout stages.
Their easiest group since their return to Europe’s premier competition gives Inter the chance to progress but they must be nearly perfect.
It would be a disaster if they don’t get through.