Inter Milan are hoping they can rely on four factors in particular to prevent another “winter slump” in Serie A.
This according to today’s print edition of Milan-based newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, via FCInterNews, who suggest that this Nerazzurri team have a newfound solidity.
Over the first part of this season, Inter have been flying high in the league.
The Nerazzurri have amassed a remarkable 57 points from their first 22 matches.
This is is enough to give Inter a bit of a buffer in the league table. They sit four points ahead of title rivals Juventus, with a game in hand to boot.
Moreover, Inter have both the best attack and best defense in the league so far this season.
The Nerazzurri have an eye-watering +41 goal difference as testament to that.
So on paper, everything looks to be there for Inter to go on and win the title. That would be the first time under Simone Inzaghi.
But Inter have been in positions like this before. In Inzaghi’s first campaign in charge, the Nerazzurri had a even bigger advantage at the start of February.
Inter squandered that advantage as the winter and early spring saw their form fall off a cliff.
And then last season, things were even worse for Inter. February and especially March were the worst offenders in a Serie A campaign that was deeply erratic and well bellow expectations for the Nerazzurri.
So far, Inter have avoided the problems of a potential “down period” in January.
After mediocre performances against the likes of Genoa and Hellas Verona, Inter came roaring back.
The Nerazzurri beat Monza 5-1 in the league, secured dominant Supercoppa Italiana wins against Lazio and Napoli, and then got the job done in a gruelling away match to Fiorentina with key players missing.
Then last weekend, Inter looked a team in fine fettle in the big one: the Derby d’Italia against Juventus.
The Nerazzurri gave a fine demonstration of their technical quality, tactical organization, and mentality to see off the Bianconeri.
Inter Relying On Four Factors To Avoid “Winter Slowdown”
But things don’t get much easier from here. Already this coming weekend, there is a tough away match to Roma.
Then with the return of the Champions League, Inter are back to playing twice a week.
Matches against Atletico Madrid in the round of sixteen of that competition break up a schedule that sees tough league fixture against the likes of Atalanta, Bologna, and Napoli among others.
So the conditions could be there for Inter to lose that crucial half a step. In terms of physical energy and focus.
But there are four aspects that the Nerazzurri hope will prevent this.
The first is that, behind the scenes, there is a lot of confidence about the physical condition of the squad.
There is no sense that the players are starting to lose energy or stamina. That will be important for the more punishing fixture list on the way.
Then there is the matter of the squad’s experience dealing with these moments.
Last season, Inter’s attempts to get through the most tiring part of the run-in was a disaster. They’ve learned from that, though.
Then there is the increased quality of the squad depth.
As rotating from match to match and using substitutions becomes more and more important, Inter coach Simone Inzaghi believes that he has a squad that’s better-designed to withstand pressure and keep the level high than he did two years ago.
Lastly, the arrival of Benjamin Pavard could be an “x-factor.” Beyond his evidently superior quality, the Frenchman is a World Cup winner with France in 2018.
And both Pavard and Yann Sommer have won the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich.
Adding the pair to a team that has the renewed confidence and sense of themselves from reaching last season’s Champions League final could equip this Inter to manage the run-in the way they need to.