Italian media have hit out at the idea that Inter Milan are “individualistic” or reliant on the quality of individual players in attack.
Today’s print edition of Milan-based newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, via FCInterNews, take aim at the notion that the Nerazzurri do not play a coherent team game in attack under Simone Inzaghi.
The last few days have seen some debate around Inter’s style of play under Inzaghi.
In truth, the “controversy” around the Nerazzurri’s attacking style goes back further than that.
Legendary former AC Milan and Italy coach Arrigo Sacchi has been a persistent criticism of Inzaghi’s tactics.
The former Rossoneri coach has hardly denied that Inter have enjoyed under Inzaghi. And he has given some measure of credit for good performances from the team.
But Sacchi has generally repeated the same refrain.
The former coach believes that Inter do not play a proactive enough pressing or possession game. And, he has contended, this means the Nerazzurri are too reliant on individual quality to decide matches.
Furthermore, Sacchi has argued, this aspect has kept Inter from reaching the level of truly elite European teams.
Italian Media Reject Criticism Of Inter Milan As “Individualistic”
Sacchi has typically contrasted Inzaghi’s tactics with more coordinated pressing approaches in defense, and with possession-based tactics that involve the entire team in a predetermined way.
The former Milan coach tends to favour the approach of Stefano Pioli at the team which he himself had enjoyed great success with.
But for the Gazzetta, there is a basic flaw in Sacchi’s premise regarding Inter.
The newspaper argue that the Nerazzurri showed just as much attacking intent in the Champions League last season as their city rivals.
Moreover, the Rossoneri had plenty of moments where they played a backs-to-the-wall defensive game.
The Gazzetta observe that one of the most prominent issues in Inter’s squad over the last couple of seasons has been the lack of a player with really top-class dribbling ability.
The Nerazzurri have not consistently been able to rely on an attacking midfielder or winger to unlock matches. There has not been the individual skill that would take one or two defenders out of the game and create numerical superiority.
On the contrary, Inter have had to use passing moves first and foremost to get up the pitch.
And these have been by design. Inter’s style in possession is hardly off the cuff.
On the contrary, Inzaghi’s fingerprints are all over how Inter play the ball. From give-and-gos in midfield to long switches to the wingbacks, the coach sets his team up to work as a unit in order to move the ball towards the opposition penalty area.
It may be true that, once Inter get to the penalty area, they’re relying on the individual quality of their strikers.
Lautaro Martinez’s brace against Salernitana over the weekend was further evidence of how the team can rely on him.
But that can be true of most teams with top strikers.
Nerazzurri Held Their Own Vs Man City
And, the Gazzetta notes, it is not as though Inter lacked quality in last season’s Champions League final against Manchester City.
City are in some respects the ultimate example of a collectively-based pressing and possession game. Pep Guardiola’s team have dominated the Premier League and Europe playing that style.
Inter were up against a team that encapsulates the style in favour in the English top flight. And they more than held their own.
The Nerazzurri caused City problems all over the pitch with their pressing.
And as the Gazzetta note, Inter took nine shots from inside the penalty area. The Cityzens took just five.
Of course, City won that match. They did so courtesy of a brilliant long-range effort by midfielder Rodri after one of their best attacking moves.
But Inter created the chances to win the match.
Without a standout performance by Martinez or any other player, the Nerazzurri attacked efficiently as a team.