The date is 30/05/2020. Gianni Rosabosa is speaking to the media. “This has to be a foundation. A starting point we can build upon.” We will return to this point in the next post… Missed the previous post? Check it out here
Preseason is for mistakes.
We wind back a few months. The 17th of August 2019 to be exact. Where Gianni has just witnessed a defeat to fellow Serie A team Lazio in the final friendly of nine matches during a hectic preseason.
Gianni addresses the local media. “We have a lot to learn. We have used a lot of players during preseason. And the reason behind this was because we needed to get everyone up to the fitness level I demand. The squad will need time to come together and time to understand what is expected of them. If given time we will achieve our targets.”
The 2-1 home defeat to Lazio would see Inter take a fortunate lead midway through the second half courtesy of a Lautaro Martinez penalty. Lazio would go on to win through a late surge in desire and see an equaliser from winger Joaquin Correa. Swiftly followed up by a mistake and own goal from Inter defender Andrea Ranocchia. The mishap would prove to be the last bit of action.
In the Summer Window
The defeat would prompt Inter to look to strengthen further following the addition of some good young talent. Atalanta’s Amad Traore (£1.3M), Raimondo Lucera from Palermo (£57K), Simone Rabbi from Bologna (£1.1M) and Racing Club’s Matias Zaracho (£5.75M) had already joined the club. Note Zaracho would be loaned straight out for the whole season to Cagliari due to the club exceeding the foreign players rule.
The youth had been drafted in following a desire of Gianni’s to cancel the loan deal of Alexis Sanchez from Manchester United. The Lazio match had brought an element of doubt into Rosabosa’s mind. With the worry that the kids might not be quite ready for the fight against some of the bigger clubs. The club then acted quickly to loan in Thomas Lemar from Atletico Madrid. Who would then act as a first teamer in the Left winger role ahead of both Traore and Rabbi, who would vie as for the covering slot. We would then draft in both Luigi Mendola on loan from Vibonese and Alessio Piazza from Lecce (£600K).
Sluggish to Full Swing
The season opener was against Brescia and following the last-minute slip in concentration in the last match the beginning of the match couldn’t have gone worse. When Left Winger Thomas Lemar was sent off for what could only be described as assault. But this is Serie A. The home of defending. Where a strong challenge is celebrated, and the show pony tricks and flicks are frowned against, yet somehow Lemar receives his marching orders for defending one vs one against Brescia’s Right Winger Romulo. Technically it was a two footed challenge. But this is Italy! Surely this should have been considered a good challenge.
The loss of Lemar would prove to be our sticking point as the deficit of players waned against the whole Inter performance for the following eighty minutes. And despite a host of chances, most were wasted, Inter limped to a 0-0 draw.
Whilst August falls, September saw Inter find their feet. To be fair Inter started September with a bang! A 6-0 home win against SPAL eases the tension that had been brewing since the Lazio friendly. Three goals in the opening 15 minutes saw Inter open a comfortable lead, Inter then seal the win with three very late goals to complete a rout.
This home win would be the catalyst and start of a seven match unbeaten run. Inter would win five matches. Including the amazing 4-1 away win against Tottenham in the Group stages of the European Champions league. And the tightly fought home battle against Juventus. We would go down but come back to draw 1-1 through a Lautaro Martinez equalizer.
The run ended abruptly at the Dacia Stadium. Udinese won 3-2 in the most surreal of circumstances. A much changed Inter side would go ahead through a sweetly struck freekick from right winger Andrea Candreva after 32 minutes. Eight minutes later the well organised Udinese would equalise through Pietro Rovaglia.
Early in the second half a handball incident in the Inter area would see Bastoni concede a penalty. Rodrigo de Paul would duly score to push Udinese into the lead.
Inter would then huff and puff at the Udine goal with no success. It would be Udinese who went on to score the next goal. De Paul would strike a beautiful long pass over the Inter defence and into the path of Kevin Lasagne. Lasagne would then blast past Diego Godin with a burst of pace. To then slip in a neatly passed shot in to the Inter goal to make the score line 3-1.
In the 94th minute Christian Eriksen then finally found space in the Udinese box. He swiftly despatched a close ranged shot to make it 3-2.
From one extreme to the other.
The very next match was the third group match in the Champions League. The home tie against Barcelona. Gianni would blame the schedule for the need for heavy rotation. With that in mind he would field a much changed side for the Barca match compared to the Udinese match.
Not surprisingly Barcelona would have more possession, but they would struggle to fire anything past an astute Inter defence.
The opening goal would come to Inter through a very quick counter attack. Andrea Candreva would receive the ball in in inter half and drive a powerful run into the barca half before playing a deft ball into the path of substitute Raimondo Lucera. The fearless Lucera would then dribble into the Barca box before drilling a shot past the hapless Ter Stegen.
Six minutes later Samuele Mulattieri intercepted a poor throw in from Barcelona right back Nelson Semedo. His determination then came to show with a mazy run into the Barca half. He then passed to Nico Barella who passed the ball on to Andrea Candreva. Candreva then coolly shot and scored the second goal of the match.
Seven minutes later Inter seal a famous 3-0 victory. Once again, the team held their nerve and counter attacked Barcelona with pace and power. This time a wayward Ivan Rakitic pass was intercepted by that well known brick wall of a defender Ashley Young. Young would nod the ball to Lukaku. Where Lukaku would then pass the ball on to the rampaging Candreva down the right. Candreva drove from the halfway line deep into the Barcelona area. Where he finally lifted his head to pick a cross and find Raimondo Lucera lurking at the back post. Lucera would tap the ball into a very open looking net and score a brace to sink the Barcelona ship.
Leave the year on a wobble.
We would ride the confidence wave following the massive victory over Barcelona with three consecutive league wins against Lecce, Verona and Napoli. The next trip in Europe would be the return fixture against Barcelona. Where Inter would narrowly lose 2-1 at the Camp Nou.
The shaky form would continue despite an away win against Cagliari (2-1). First was a home draw against Sampdoria, the a 0-0 bore draw against RB Leipzig. A 2-1 away loss to Roma followed before a cagey 1-0 home win against Torino. This slump in form was leading up to the first Milan derby of the season. And Inter were not looking ready for it.
Is it the San Siro or Giuseppe Meazza?
The Milan Derby at the (San Siro) was billed as a massive match for both teams. The Inter line up was as strong as Gianni Rosabosa could call up. De Vrij was out injured. And because of this Alessandro Bastoni would deputise along side Milan Skriniar. Inter would show to have a lot of the ball and the majority of the chances at goal in the match. Hitting the woodwork and carving out four clearcut chances. Milan, however, were well drilled defensively and held their collective nerve. Inter would begin to make mistakes in the second half and in the 76th minute Raimondo Lucera would clear the ball from deep in a covering rightback role. The ball looped up and centrally to the lurking midfield of Milan, who were camped outside of the Inter area. The ball was neatly chested down by Castilejo to Lucas Paqueta. Who unleashed a beast of a shot from 30 yards out past the helpless Handanovic. Inter went on to throw the kitchen sink at Milan to no success. The Red and Black of Milan would ring the cheers around the city for the next few days.
Heart Breaking words in defeat
Rosabosa spoke briefly and very apologetically to the Inter fans after the match. “I am very sorry that our fans have had to go home feeling hurt. Knowing that we played the better football but somehow couldn’t find the solution to score. Rest assured I will find a solution and we will be firing all cylinders again very shortly. Not only that but we will make sure we are the ones cheering when we face them again in May.”
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To not make this post too long, I have broken this season up into two parts. The 2019/20 season will conclude next time. Ciao for now. Enjoyed this post please check out other Football Manager content at Dictate the Game .