Inter look to be in a phase of physical decline, and nowhere is this more clear than in the recent form of midfielder Nicolo Barella.
This according to today’s print edition of Milan-based newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, who argue that the 25-year-old’s performance against AC Milan in the Coppa Italia yesterday was a visible symbol of the team’s lack of athleticism and energy at the moment.
Inter are entering the run-in of the season having already played an enormous amount of football across all competition, employing a taxing high-energy style of play and twice going to extra time.
The team has looked worn-down in some of their recent matches, seeming the display something of a hangover from their run of matches against Milan, Napoli, and Liverpool.
This trend continued during the Nerazzurri’s third derby clash with Milan of the season, in the first leg of a Coppa Italia semi-final.
Neither side were at their brilliant best, but it looked to be the Rossoneri whose aggressive high press was dictating the tempo of the match, particularly in the first half.
No Inter player looked to be entirely their usual selves, but perhaps the player to have looked furthest from their best was Nicolo Barella.
The 25-year-old’s energy in midfield has been key throughout the season and his performances were regularly among the team’s best when they were in their best form.
Against Milan yesterday evening, however, the midfielder was anonymous and he simply didn’t appear to have the energy to keep the match from passing him by in midfield as Inter were overrun for spells.
The team must find some way around what looks increasingly to be a serious issue with energy and athleticism, and nowhere was this more evident in the drop in form by Barella.