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Thursday August 30 2018
Milanese meltdowns

Both Milan and Inter continue to fritter away leads and show a worrying mental weakness to waste pre-season confidence, writes Emmet Gates.

If you were a Milan fan at the 49-minute mark of their thrilling encounter against Napoli on Saturday night, you would’ve been forgiven for thinking this season has the promise to be one of the best in a truly turbulent decade.

Rino Gattuso’s men, through Davide Calabria, had just scored a finely worked goal to give Milan a two-goal cushion at the San Paolo. Their performance had deserved the lead, with Suso and Lucas Biglia hurting the Partenopei repeatedly.

Some half an hour later and the game had been completely turned on its head, with Dries Mertens completing the comeback to smash home a third and give Carlo Ancelotti a home debut victory. Milan had simply wilted at the first sign of Napoli pressure, something Gattuso was eager to point out in his post-match press conference.

Anything of course that Milan can do, Inter can always rival. Just 24 hours later and it was the Nerazzurri who threw away a two-goal lead at home to Torino. Ivan Perisic and new signing Stefan de Vrij had put Inter seemingly on route for three simple points. Inter were coasting, then came half-time.

Whatever Walter Mazzarri said during the half time team talk, it worked. Torino stormed out in the second half and Inter duly capitulated, conceding two goals in 13 minutes.

By the beginning of the season – the first one in what feels like an age – both of the Milanese duo felt quietly confident of being major antagonists again. Inter had a smart transfer window, whilst Milan cleaned their organization of all those involved in the Chinese debacle. No players departed, as was originally feared, and they undoubtedly got the better of the Gonzalo Higuain/Mattia Caldara/Leo Bonucci move.

Inter have been described as the ‘anti-Juve’ by many on the strength of their summer business, and yet they sit on a single point after two games. This isn’t a new phenomenon for Inter under Spalletti, as it happened towards the end of last season. At home to Juve, they contrived to blow a 2-1 lead into a 3-2 loss inside two minutes that essentially killed Napoli’s title challenge.

It speaks to a mental fragility in both sides that they so easily wither under the first real dose of pressure from the opposition. A little leeway could be given to Milan given the relative lack of Serie A experience in many of their defenders and the precociousness of Donnarumma.  

Inter, however, can’t be afforded the same courtesy. It’s also fair to say there is quite the difference between being two ahead away to Napoli, and racing into a two-goal lead at home to Toro.

A change of formation could be in order for Inter; you get the impression Spalletti is still unsure about how to get the best from his newly assembled squad. Gattuso will be hoping for more of the opening 45 minutes against Napoli than the second.

With expectation rising in Milan, and the extra caveat of one Antonio Conte now available, both Spalletti and Gattuso know they can ill afford further mental lapses from their respective sides.

Have your say...
Inter need more time to integrate their new players. Too many new faces in the starting eleven.
Beside it seems that some player returning from World Cup need time to refocus their mind, replenish their energy and come back to terms to Serie A reality.

Prime example is Brozovic who are playing well below par so far.
on the 2nd September, 2018 at 3:13pm
Both Milan clubs did enough to boost their confidence pre-season and these beginnings were not expected. Make what you will of the results seen, the point is both clubs squandered a 2 goal lead and the article exists for this reason. Milan could be worse off, but the loss to Napoli like this hurts. Inter had Sassuolo still fresh and needed the reaction against a weaker team at home.

Once again, only 2 games. I didn't expect them to be that different from before anyway.
on the 31st August, 2018 at 2:25pm
As for Milan they just barely managed to steady their sinking ship! If Li had stayed on for another season Milan would have been playing football in Serie B sooner rather then later. With the Elliot group, Maldini and Leonardo i think they have found a way to stabilize the situation and you have to give these players the time to build up their confidence as well as get used to being a protagonist. Milan is a strong club they have everything needed to fight for the top spots, even if the biggest question mark is Gattuso. Personally i loved watching him as a player but as a coach he is a nightmare to watch and Milan certainly deserves a better manager then him. Let’s give these two sleeping giants the time to wake up and they may surprise us all. I for one wouldn’t mind seeing Juve competing against tougher opposition in Serie A.
on the 30th August, 2018 at 10:20pm
As a Juve supporter i don’t think it’s fair that we already analyze their meltdowns and criticize their performances. Inter players for one are dealing with a lot of unnecessary pressure from both former players and fans alike. Problem is.. The last time Inter was even considered a contender for the title was 8 seasons ago and you have to go even further back to find them being favorites for the title. So expecting them to come out destroying opposition is unrealistic! They started slow but there is nothing that says Inter can’t find their feet and start challenging for the title.
on the 30th August, 2018 at 10:14pm
Rome wasnt built in a day and its tough to slate us for losing to Napoli who are currently on another level to us, although it is hard to swallow the way in which we lost. We looked much improved from last season already and that was without Higuain really being involved and we also had no Hakan who was our star player last year. The management is finally taking shape with Kaka now returning and Gazidis expected, we will be fine. Top 4 is the target this year whereas Napoli are title contenders.
on the 30th August, 2018 at 5:23pm
@Raff Ref mistakes are different from Racism and derogatory remarks. Everybody all over the world knows the reputation of italian refs and seeing the way they handle matches in this modern football it's just poor in comparison to other leagues.
on the 30th August, 2018 at 4:52pm
2of2 the slow start in my opinion has more to do with physical issues rather than mental.The drop off intensity in the 2nd half was due to running out of gas after all the aggressive pressing from the 1st half which is understandable so early in the season.So again let's hold off on judging teams until after a few more games.Afterall 2015-2016 Juve's record in the first 10 games 3 wins, 3 draws,and 4 losses and the first win came in their 4th game didn't mean Juve had a weak mental fragility
on the 30th August, 2018 at 4:37pm
My god only two games played and already blog writers on this site are already judging team's identity,flaws etc the only certain thing is Juve will win again in my opinion but don't start bashing Inter cos of those two games.Mental fragility after two games?Last season from Jan and onward yes i agree but can't make that assessment yet.Not saying it won't be an issue this season but i will hold my judgement on that after a few more games,especially after the international break. 1of2
on the 30th August, 2018 at 4:29pm
I think we can all stop with the 'what if's' and how many 'mistakes' were given. As soon as us fans begin pondering over referee decisions then it does not become fun to take part in discussion among other club fans. The same applies to racist and derogatory remarks.(Napoli Fan).
on the 30th August, 2018 at 3:56pm
@Hypocrite Napoli fans i talk to remember the matches against Torino, Roma and especially Fiorentina and they remember that there were a lot of questionable calls going their way last season, they remember that. You're an individual with an unmedicated condition and you remember one foul taht wasn't given in a game that Napoli wasn't even playing in and you, an individual with an unmedicated condition, reduced the whole season to one call and decided it was a conspiracy. go back on your meds...
on the 30th August, 2018 at 12:02pm
RVGJuve

What nonesense. Napoli lost the game, because no one was motivated knowing how results will be rigged.

Watch Juve Napoli again. It is actually pathetic how with such a high budget Juve defends the whole game (they did the same in the first game).

Your point on celebration makes no sense. Everyone who played for Napoli wants back. It's called passion. It's obvious that a glory hunter would not understand
on the 30th August, 2018 at 11:57am
Hypocrisy - Politics & Football

Absolutely correct. Inter was robbed in that game against Juve. They were 10 men for over an hour and turned a 0-1 into a 2-1. Had Pjanic been given the d eserved red card, Napoli would have deservedly won the title.
on the 30th August, 2018 at 11:54am
I always love seeing how @Hypocrite and other fans of that provinical club which benefited the most from referee mistakes last season like to complain about referee mistakes so much. Losing games had nothing to do with losing the title, sure. The only reason your privincial club challenged for the title last season was because the referees were holding you up on their shoulders so to speak, without their generous help you'd have finsihed closer to third spot than the first. Hypocrite
on the 30th August, 2018 at 11:40am
Hypoc save us the stupidy for 1 year at least please.
on the 30th August, 2018 at 11:27am
A clean and punctual article, enjoyable read. I hope to see more from this writer, as another had previously commented, finally someone who can write.
on the 30th August, 2018 at 11:15am
ANTI JUVE!

Hahaha... I laugh every time I see fans believe their club can actually compete with THIS Juventus for scudetto, especially Inter fans. Media is fooling around with you. Inter fans are the easiest target to sell craps. They are childish and don't know the difference between quality entertainment and crap. They go to San Siro oopss.. I mean Giuseppe Meazza with a believe they can win scudetto with bunch of mediocre players who NEVER taste scudetto (except Asamoah the bench warmer).
on the 30th August, 2018 at 10:34am
@ Hypocrite

Oh yes Napoli fans know very well their club was invincible to VAR by numerous helps from referees until Sarri decided to abandon CL/EL. That's the moment where FIGC realized helping Napoli in league won't make Italian football better.
on the 30th August, 2018 at 10:08am
I feel that it is worth pointing out that Milan's approach of playing every play from the full backs was their downfall. Napoli copped on to it and exploited it along with exploiting the sluggish second half performance from Lucas Biglia.

Another point is that normally Manuel Locatelli would have slotted in there as an adequate substitution for Biglia. His absence will now be missed as I dont believe Bertolacci nor Bakayoko are up to the challenge.

It might be worth bringing Montolivio back!
on the 30th August, 2018 at 9:55am
Finally an article on FI from someone who can actually write.
on the 30th August, 2018 at 9:52am
Hypocrisy the incredible assertion that Pjanic (please note the correct spelling), not receiving a second yellow resulted in Napoli losing the league is astounding. Fiorentina simply blew the serial losers away the next day & they couldn't even beat Torino at home. Napoli beat us with a last minute goal to go within a point but we didn't cry about it whilst 20,000 celebrated at the airport as if they'd won the league. We didn't crack, we made it happen. Such a typical, pathetic self serving post
on the 30th August, 2018 at 9:34am
@viktor well both clubs have meltdowns after first part of season, especially Inter. Both clubs change a load of players and coaches, to quote: "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results".
on the 30th August, 2018 at 9:02am
We lost one game away to Napoli that we were dominating for 55 minutes and you call it a melt down?
on the 30th August, 2018 at 8:24am
This guy obviously did not watch the Juventus v Inter match last April or he could not avoid commenting on Panijc's assault on Rafinha which should have been a straight red (like Veccinos) but was not even given as a yellow because Panicj was already on a yellow. I suspect this incident alone is the reason that the use of VAR is now being watered down. This is the main reason Napoli lost the league. Napoli fans know and remember this.
on the 30th August, 2018 at 6:10am

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