Legendary former Inter midfielder Dejan Stankovic believes that the Nerazzurri already look like a different team under Simone Inzaghi than they did under previous coach Antonio Conte.
Speaking to Milan-based newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, the current Red Star Belgrade coach gave his insights on the current Inter boss who he was a teammate of at Lazio, and on the style of play at Inter under the Italian tactician.
Inzaghi took over in the summer when Conte departed from the club at the end of last season, and part of the reason that he was appointed was thought to be continuity with the style of play under the former manager.
Conte had been strongly committed to a system with three central defenders and two strikers, something that Inzaghi had also come to be associated with during his five seasons in charge at Lazio.
However, the two managers also have fundamental differences in their approaches, and Stankovic believes that these can be seen in the way that the Nerazzurri now look to approach games.
Stankovic opened by speaking about how Inzaghi was as a player, stating that “Now with match analysis everyone knows everything about everyone. But he was already like this twenty years ago. He studied every game, he knew every single defect of the defenders. So he scored, so he made them look foolish.”
“Was Simone very fast? No,” he explained. “Did he have a great physique? No. But he knew where to look for fouls, where to attack. And I’m not talking about the great games, but about those against opponents who … oh well, I don’t mention names, but maybe you could also do without studying them. And instead he was there, taking care of the details.”
Of the Nerazzurri’s style of play under his former teammate Stankovic stated, “They are a patient, concrete team. And then, compared to Conte, there is a little more space for improvisation, for the individual player.”
“The animations and the tactical organization must be the basis,” he went on, “but then it is right to also bring out the individual qualities.”
Stankovic stated, “I already know what you want to ask me: are Inter more or less strong? I do not know. But I say this – I won as a player, now I’m also on the bench with the Red Star. And after a success, it is right to let some fresh air into a locker room, to see some different faces.”
He went on, “I’m not saying that you lose your hunger, but you can subconsciously feel a bit of mental fatigue, especially after an intense season like last one. It’s like you overloaded, at some point you can’t take it anymore.”
“And then, on Lukaku: it doesn’t seem to me that Dzeko is scoring little, quite the contrary. Inter have lost something, in another way they have gained – they will fight for the Scudetto until the end,” he opined.
For the Scudetto favourites he stated, “Napoli and Inter in the front row, and then Milan and Juve behind them.”
Of Saturday’s Serie A clash with Lazio he stated, “It’s a springboard to jump into, Inter must take advantage of it. I’m curious, there are two very different coaches in front of us: I want to see how this match fits together, usually they are always beautiful.”
Regarding the possibility of the captain’s armband being given to midfielder Nicolo Barella he stated, “Now it’s on the arm of a great like Handanovic. But how can we not think of Barella? I divide the leaders into two categories: the ones who talk and the ones who lead by example every day. Nicolo is among the latter.”
Stankovic closed with his tactical advice for the Nerazzurri’s key Champions League clash with Sheriff Tiraspol next week, “To pay attention to the two central midfielders, Thill and Addo. Sheriff has a very direct game: they are very quick to win possession in wide areas. But Inter are stronger, mind you.”