Monday October 29 2018
Inter answer their trequartista problem

Inter have been searching for a player to set up Mauro Icardi for years, but the win at Lazio showed Richard Hall they've been asking the wrong questions.

Forget Mauro Icardi and forget Ciro Immobile, it was the weather that posed the main threat in the tie between Lazio and Inter at the Stadio Olimpico. Strong winds, thunderstorms and hailstones punished the Eternal City, making the backdrop one of biblical proportions. So much so in fact, that it had threatened to see the game cancelled.

The epic-build up however, was not enough to raise eyebrows amongst Inter’s travelling support. Instead this honour went to misfit and want-away Portuguese attacking midfielder Joao Mario, who found himself unexpectedly starting, as Luciano Spalletti struggled to fill the trequartista void he has found himself with recently.

Inter have struggled to find a replacement for Radja Nainggolan, who was unfortunately injured in the Derby Della Madonnina. Borja Valero had been found wanting in that very game after coming on as a substitute and then found himself even more exposed against Barcelona at Camp Nou in an attacking position.

It is perhaps somewhat astonishing that other alternatives had not been used in Spain but this was rectified against Lazio, as Joao Mario lined up. He had not endeared himself to the fans, after making it clear that he disliked Italian football, but following his tepid spell at West Ham, he found himself back at Inter looking for redemption.

The Nerazzurri entered the game with the best defensive record in the division and yet also left out ex-Lazio defender Stefan de Vrij. He had given away a penalty (when he was part of the Aquile set-up) in the titanic showdown that decided the Champions League places in May. Joao Miranda would start instead, and it was also notable that Keita Balde Diao and Antonio Candreva (all ex-Lazio) didn’t start.

The stage was set for Inter to continue the good luck they have had in the Stadio Olimpico over the past two seasons, but they needed to connect with Icardi and that responsibility was partly down to Joao Mario.

Marcelo Brozovic and Matias Vecino have become stalwarts of Inter’s midfield and both exhibited accelerated progression over the last season. This was true again in Rome, but interestingly Joao Mario also looked effective. This was not however, in the typical Number 10 role. Instead, he drifted often to the left and in doing so allowed Ivan Perisic inside and for Brozovic to push forward. At times, Inter were playing a 4-3-3 rather than a 4-2-3-1. The Portuguese midfielder hadn’t set the world on fire, but his movement was excellent and offered up a new solution.

Even before Spalletti and possibly since Roberto Mancini’s second stint at the club, Inter have been transfixed on a creative player who can unlock Icardi. Take Ever Banega as the most recent case in point. Considering none of these options have worked out, perhaps it isn’t necessary? There has even been a clamour for Lautaro Martinez to play there, despite the fact that at Racing Club he was the archetypal Number 9, so it is an obsession to supply Icardi from a role that arguably doesn’t exist anymore. Yes, players can fit in behind the striker, but the pressure on them to be this roaming creator doesn’t fit. Even Mesut Ozil can’t do this at Arsenal and is rediscovering himself.

The usual suspects, Icardi and Brozovic, stole the show with three stereotypical goals that they are now accustomed to scoring. Joao Mario was perhaps not a huge influencer, but it showed that Spalletti had a viable Plan B. Perhaps in Radja Nainggolan’s absence he can move to a 4-3-3, perhaps this will help Valero if he has to feature? Perhaps this would allow the Coach to even explore a 4-2-2-2 with Icardi and Martinez leading the line in front of two wide men and two deep-lying midfielders? The point is that Inter are adapting and perhaps what the game against Lazio showed was that there doesn’t need to be an obsession with a creative man behind their Argentine hitman.

There is no doubt that the night belonged to Mauro Icardi and it is hard not to salute him for his predatory ability. The interesting learning curve for Spalletti and his men is that they didn’t need a trequartista to manufacture their hitman’s performance. The 4-3-3 worked well and a player in Joao Mario may not be the future of Inter, but it proved a talented outcast in a deeper position only adds to the Brozovic/Vecino combination. Even Valero played better deeper when he came on.

Inter were superlative and certainly not under the weather. Even Joao Mario proved that every cloud has a silver lining.

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Have your say...
Talk about a rush to judgment.
on the 2nd November, 2018 at 2:48pm
Do you know how you can improve vecino&brozo more?? Vecino needs to be more like valero; composed and dictating. And brozovic have to more like vecino!; hard working, sensitive.
on the 31st October, 2018 at 9:43am
Got to say though, the performance against Lazio was the best I've seen in a while, very encouraging.
on the 31st October, 2018 at 12:26am
How about Keita or even Candreva as a stand-in trequartista? Failing that, play a formation without one, one which allows Martinez and Icardi to play together upfront.
on the 31st October, 2018 at 12:24am
Vrsaljko´best match in an Inter shirt. Dude is way more talented than D´Ambrosio but he needs to perform like this every match.

Shout out to Radu from Lazio btw. A joke of a player. Should play for Benevento.
on the 30th October, 2018 at 9:39pm
For the next transfer, Inter should go for Rodrigo de Paul. He has all the quality needed to be our true trequartista. His speed and crossing are good as well, so he can interchange plays with our wingers. He’s already familiar with italian football too.
He’s a bit underrated in the market, maybe due to inconsistency. But this can be improved with good manager & better players around him. Imagine 4231 with him behind Icardi or 433 as RW/LW.

Should be available b/w €25-35 million.
on the 30th October, 2018 at 6:31pm
Best performance so far from Inter. Lazio just had no answer. Vecino & Brozovic are improving tremendeously. Vecino’s running to the box is worthy of a striker’s movement, i think he had more shots on goal than even Icardi. While brozovic’s passing and shooting are worthy of a trequartista, if only his dribbling is just as good.
Without Radja, 433 is our best option.

Politano’s passing & creativity are average, his main attributes are speed & dribbling, such a waste to not put him in the wing.
on the 30th October, 2018 at 6:11pm
I think we need to be more flexible. We should try out the 433 and three man defence. In 433 we can get another dimension of naingolan and keita can afloat freely. Not trying the three men defence for such a high quality defensive unit is a crime!. And lautaro deserves more, formation cant be an excuse. That guy got goals in him man, give him minutes!.
on the 30th October, 2018 at 4:56pm
@Sanrella not sure how you could argue that given Spalletti hasn't really utilised his bench effectively thus far. Players like Keita,Martinez and Mario, as we saw today, have a lot to contribute over the season.

I think it isn't a question of depth but rather a question of whether the depth can be maximised. Obviously, another quality midfielder in January would be handy but Inter look like they have the depth this season to avoid another winter of discontent.
on the 30th October, 2018 at 1:09pm
Well, what a funny headline. You frozen out a guy. Then again caught against wall, you count him in. Joao mario better leave in january alongside candreva, so we can bring another midfielder in. No cdm please, vidal or dembele will upend out vecino and this weak madrid just cant let go of modric no sooer. Look further, we are so dependent on perisic. And after a hectic world cup he needs a happy schedule. We need a player Like of mikhtaryan who is as good on the left as in a attacking midfielder role. We need a creative hub among heavy machinaries. I can not thank enough inter for out of world mercato this summer. As a fan this is what you expect for your team. But transfer window is a window of a opportunity where you throw out what is wasting or bring what you missing. Doing absolutely nothing in a three month long summer window is such a dumb act that been done by tottenham this season!.
on the 30th October, 2018 at 1:04pm
@Gazarelda You beat me to it as I was gonna say exactly that. Valero has always been a deep lying midfielder. That is where he is most effective. The same way they wasted Ever banega as he too is the same. It will be interesting tp see if they do get Modric whether he to will be wasted in a position that is not his own. It took Ancelotti to create a position for the best deep lying Italian playmaker of all Pirlo who was wasted further fwd at Inter
on the 30th October, 2018 at 12:06pm
Mohammed - I think it it worth a try although he is goodf on the wing too and I dont think Keita and Candreva are up to scratch just yet. Politano was a great buy
on the 30th October, 2018 at 11:27am
Inter just do not have a strong enough squad to seriously challenge Juve.They will do well to finisih in a CL spot.
on the 30th October, 2018 at 10:38am
I don't quite understand the surprise with the statement 'Even Valero played better deeper when he came on'. Every time I have seen Valero at his best - including literally running games for Fiorentina - he was played in a very deep role. He was the conductor who also pulled strings, and at times in this campaign when surrendering possession, that was precisely what Inter needed.
on the 30th October, 2018 at 10:06am
@ Mohamed Ismail, that's an interesting look at Politano. I've never regarded him anything but a winger. I wouldnt want him anywhere else as it becomes a headache for any manager who has more than 2-3 players who can play in various positions. Inter already has 3 midfielders who can opperate as CDMs, CMs and CAMs: Nainggolan, Joao Mario and Brozovic. I'd argue that if you have more players like that, more than usual, they lose that edge and speciality spark. they become average in all position.
on the 30th October, 2018 at 9:34am
The problem with Inter is the coach. He is yet to find his best play-maker. He needs to let Politano play in that Trequartista role. He has quick feet and he is left footed. He's also good at keeping the ball. He shall use him the same way Man City use Bernardo Silva and David Silva. You can't win games trying to cross the ball in the box. We need other methods to create chances. In my opinion, i think pushing Politano in the middle will solve a lot of problems and will will score so many goals.
on the 30th October, 2018 at 6:20am

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