Season Preview Part I – The Coach
The new Serie A season is finally within smelling distance! It sure seemed like this summer, and transfer market, has dragged on way too long. A lot has been said about Inter recently and barely any of it has been positive. I will be trying to figure out where we stand with a few days to go till kick-off.
For the first time in a long time Inter are not seen as favorites to win the title. Not only are they not being considered for the title but a few people are worried that a top 3 finish might too much to ask. Inter are not seen on Milan’s level and Napoli these days are being thought of as a better team. Juve, Roma, and Lazio have invested heavily and seem on the up. Inter however seem to have had a crazy summer with the loss of our best player, an obsession with Financial Fair Play, and a new coach with a new system. The change of coach situation from the outside seemed such a mess that it was obvious that Inter were not ready for Leonardo’s sudden change of heart. Or, according to the press, was he pushed?
What ensued was a comedic/stressful 10 days in which a replacement was found. Other than Bielsa I don’t thing Inter got the rejections we kept hearing about. I think due to a certain criteria placed by Massimo Moratti that the list of available coaches ended up being very small. I believe the criteria were: Willing to accept short-term contract and low salary. Able to develop youngsters. Phase out Veterans. Understand that due to FFP at least one star will be sold and no expensive players will be coming in. In the end Gian Piero Gasperini was chosen as the best fit.
Gasperini comes in with a good reputation as a tactically flexible coach who’s Genoa teams seemed to over achieve despite changing half the roster every summer. He worked his way up the old-fashioned way from youth coach to Serie C to B and finally to A. His teams always seem to play with the ball on the ground, run a lot, and love to play through dynamic wing play. He is notorious for his 3-4-3 formation dating back to coaching Juventus’ youth, but he and everyone says he changes based on situation. So far we have seen him stick to this formation with a few variations all summer long.
For and excellent background article make sure to read this.
So far this summer the coach has had a tough time adapting his tactics and we might be in for some growing pains once the season starts. He barely has had anytime with the full squad as the South Americans were all gone for the Copa America. Coutinho has finally showed up this week. Inter has also been slow to attack the market since Eto’o was only sold late and the new players didn’t show up till the last couple of days of the market and that means he hasn’t had the players he needed.
The coach has never used a pure play-maker in his earlier teams and so far has played Sneijder in three different roles. This is issue the biggest to resolve since all summer we have seen two different Inters; the contender with Sneijder in the line-up, and the pretender without him. He will be the difference between winning trophies and not.
The last coaching conundrum and biggest fan anxiety has been the three-man defense. All summer we have not seen our three best players in this line-up and so we cannot really judge how it will fare. People have been against it since before seeing it in action, and after a few undermanned and underwhelming summer friendlies the fans seem determined it will be a failure. I will not judge until I see it in action in games that matter, and when Ranocchia-Lucio-Samuel are the ones playing.
I am looking forward to what our new coach can do at the start of the season. I believe if he is given a chance to work in peace he will be able to get some good results for us. This season is the most wide open I’ve seen Serie A since the seven sister days so it’s not impossible for Inter to actually win it. Here’s hoping!