Evading Midfield Pressure In Buildup & Doubling Up Defensively – Italian Media Highlight Four Tactical Tweaks Inter Milan To Use Vs Porto

Evading Midfield Pressure In Buildup & Doubling Up Defensively – Italian Media Highlight Four Tactical Tweaks Inter Milan To Use Vs Porto
March 14, 2023 12:30
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Inter will be looking to exploit four particular tactical elements as they aim to get the better of Porto in the Champions League this evening.

This according to today’s print edition of Milan-based newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, via FCInterNews, who highlight evading the Portuguese champions’ pressure in midfield and never getting defensively outnumbered as key elements for the Nerazzurri.

One of the main tactical battles that was evident in the first leg at the San Siro was that Porto approached the midfield battle by trying to achieve numerical density that made it difficult for Inter to play through.

The Portuguese ensured that every Inter midfielder who had the ball at their feet, and in particular Hakan Calhanoglu, were denied time and space to move the ball around, and they did this by packing central areas with players.

At the Estadio do Dragao, there is little reason to expect that Porto won’t use a similar strategy, and so the Gazzetta suggest that a key tweak for Inter will be using the likes of Andre Onana, Francesco Acerbi, and Alessandro Bastoni heavily in buildup.

By circulating the ball in the first line of buildup, Inter can bypass Porto’s heavy midfield pressure and draw some opposition players out of position to open up space in which to operate.

The second tweak envisioned by the Gazzetta is using long balls to get past the Portuguese side’s midfield pressure.

Being able to switch things up and use the aerial ability of Edin Dzeko and Lautaro Martinez on occasion by simply hitting it long over Porto’s disciplined midfield unit will be essential to making sure that the Portuguese do not become complacent and creating chances when Porto are overcommitted.

The Gazzetta’s third suggested tactical tweak will be for the Nerazzurri to use their 3-5-2 shape to draw the play into one area of the pitch with close combination play, freeing up a player on the other side of the pitch.

This was an important method which Inter used to generate space for their wingbacks in particular during the first leg, and is likely to be another key element of their approach.

Lastly, the Gazzetta notes, Inter will be doing everything that they can to avoid one-on-ones in wide areas and in the channels.

This will particularly mean protecting the two wide players in the back three, which are likely to be Matteo Darmian and Alessandro Bastoni.

The likes of Denzel Dumfries and Federico Dimarco will need to know when to come back and help their defenders out, doubling up on Porto’s dangerous wide players.

If Inter can ensure strong defensive coverage in these areas of the pitch, which was a feature of their defensive performances in wins against the likes of Barcelona, Napoli, and AC Milan, and do so without losing the attacking threat of their own wide players, it could be key to besting the Portuguese champions.

By Toni Weeler