If Inter Milan do not beat Benfica this evening, they could give themselves problems further down the line in terms of their fixture list.
Today’s print edition of Turin-based newspaper Tuttosport, via FCInterNews, highlight the potential pitfalls for the Nerazzurri.
With Inter playing twice a week, the Nerazzurri have had to utilize squad rotation to keep players fresh.
Part of that has inevitably meant prioritizing certain matches to some degree or another.
Away to Salernitana over the weekend, for example, Inter coach Simone Inzaghi rested some of his most important players.
The coach did have to turn to captain Lautaro Martinez and midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the end. But the likes of Federico Dimarco and Alessandro Bastoni had the luxury of not having to feature at all during the Serie A match.
Against Benfica this evening, by contrast, it is all but certain that Inzaghi will go with his strongest eleven.
That is the dynamic that allows the squad rotation to work. Whether Inzaghi admits it or not, the coach undoubtedly sees some matches as requiring the big guns, and others less so.
Inter Could Be In For Rough End Of October If They Don’t Beat Benfica
If Inter do not take all three points against Benfica this evening, they will be behind the eight ball in their Champions League group.
The Nerazzurri need a win to wrestle some control in the group.
With a draw or, worse, a loss, all the pressure will be on Inter’s next two group stage matches. The Nerazzurri face Red Bull Salzburg home and away.
Six points will be almost obligatory from those matches in that case. There will be no room to strategically rotate the starting eleven.
And the problem for Inter and Inzaghi comes in looking at the league fixtures around the same time.
Inter face Torino away, Roma at the San Siro, and Atalanta away whilst also facing Salzburg twice.
With the greatest of respect to Empoli and Salzburg, these are a tougher slate of matches than Inter’s recent league fixtures. At least on paper.
Therefore, it would be harder for Inzaghi to justify rotating his starting eleven.
And that is precisely the issue. If Inter do not beat Benfica this evening, they could end up with a sequence of five or six matches at the end of this month in which there is little room to rotate the team.