Wednesday September 25 2019
Inter show title teeth

Antonio Conte’s men are exhibiting the mental fortitude usually lacking from Inter, writes Giancarlo Rinaldi, and Napoli could do with borrowing some.

Once upon a time, all Serie A games kicked off together and nobody had to play catch-up. Who knows if there have been Scudetto races decided simply by the order in which fixtures were played? Certainly Antonio Conte’s Inter gave a first indication that they might be psychologically stronger than recent Nerazzurri sides by seizing back the league leadership and seeing off Lazio a day after Juventus had toppled them from the summit.

Nobody is jumping to any serious conclusions after just five games, but it felt like an early hint of a bright day to come for the Milanese side. This was a stern test against Simone Inzaghi’s troops, who were regularly denied by Samir Handanovic. In days gone by, they might have folded, but this time around they showed the interior strength and resolve to get the job done.

They are not the finished article, by any means, and the gap to the Bianconeri last term is a conspicuous one to bridge. Nonetheless, there is a robustness about their approach which looks like their title dreams need not be as ephemeral as they have been of late. We need more proof, for sure, but the initial evidence is of a side that can deliver results rather than be blown off course by the first puff of an ill wind. Tougher times will come, but this suggested an ability to cope with adversity which has not been all that evident in recent years.

This was a significant victory against a good team and that will have pleased their new Coach most. He praised the strength of character they showed, particularly in the second half, to pick up the three points. One goal conceded in their opening five fixtures is a sign of that determination and mentality. There is still a lot of work to be done, for sure, but this is a club that looks to be on the right path at last. Anyone who has wished for more than one challenger to Juve’s hegemony will be grateful for that.

Mind you, the other most credited contender suffered an unexpected setback when it slipped to defeat at home to Cagliari. Carlo Ancelotti was quick to say he was not worried by the loss, but it was still something of a shock for Napoli. He has a squad which produces beautiful football, but that is not always accompanied by results. They will need to find consistency - and a dash of Inter’s inner steel - if they want to keep pace with those leading the pack right now. Maybe it was beating the reigning champions of Europe that made them take their eye off the ball against their more modest Sardinian visitors.

Exactly the opposite appears to have happened in Bergamo, where they have bounced back from a Champions League disaster in some style. Their comeback against Fiorentina was gutsy, but a victory in Rome was top class. This Atalanta team is a fine-tuned unit which seems set to continue with the quality performances it produced last season. Surely they will do themselves greater justice in continental competition in due course.

At the bottom of the table there was a sigh of relief in Florence as the Viola finally recorded a league win after 220 days. They were well worth their triumph, which sent their opponents Sampdoria into last place, but they did make supporters sweat by conceding a late goal against their 10-man rivals. Just the same, the double act of Franck Ribery and Federico Chiesa was in fine form. Some have dismissed them as over the hill and overrated respectively, but they looked pretty decent - admittedly against struggling Doria. Things won’t get any easier for the Blucerchiati when they host high-flying Inter at the weekend.

The other teams making progress up the table were Lecce and Parma at the expense of SPAL and Sassuolo respectively. It leaves a big lump of sides on six points who could see their season flip one way or another with a couple of good or bad results. Coincidentally, their number includes both Torino and Milan, who are the last outfits in action in this midweek round.

Who can say which one of those two teams will have the mental fortitude to take advantage of playing with the knowledge of the results of all those around them? They could do worse than ask Coach Conte for a few hints on how to handle such situations.

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Have your say...
Early to say at this point of the season, but signs are very positive in Zhang`s side. Let`s hope INTER will manage to overcome all difficulties, including refs preferring juBentus domination. Not discussing the reasons why, we all know what happened in Calciopoli not so long ago. Looking forward for midfield reinforcements: SMS would be nice to replace Vecino.
on the 30th September, 2019 at 4:07pm
@Niscist, Looks like you need anti depressant pills.
on the 30th September, 2019 at 11:26am
If Juve don't get too many gift's this season, Inter could well be close to the title. But it's tough when serie a is corrupted. Let's support fair play and inter.
on the 30th September, 2019 at 2:09am
I am a Juve and Roma fan but overall a sepia A supporter.
We should be excited about conte and Inter revival, even if its only 5 games. They look good and Conte is a true champion. It can only be good for Italian football.

The only sad point is the up and coming Italian players being left on the bench all the time. How can they develop on the side lines.
on the 28th September, 2019 at 3:17am
Hey Dami I’m and obnoxious scum supporter lol and tbh I am a little worried about conte’s ability to motivate players and get results. But also tbh I really don’t care who wins the Serie a this yr. after our fifth title in a row I became fed up. Not really fed up but Just used to winning the Serie a and maybe it became boring. I’m sure some other juve fans feel the same. I would not like to lose the title obviously, but will I lose any sleep if they do after 8 yrs. simple answer is no.
on the 27th September, 2019 at 9:19pm
Sick and tired of seeing the turin scum steamroll the league every year. Hope Inter win it if it means taking the title from those obnoxious scum.
on the 27th September, 2019 at 2:30pm
I knew it's only a matter of time before someone dismiss Inter but I guess it's preferable that way. Inter had always done the best when they are underdogs. They could have won 10 in a row and there will be still people like Milan Fan. I hope it continue that way including in the press until Inter "unexpectedly" win the title.
on the 27th September, 2019 at 2:49am
@Milan Fan... Hi again, how is your team doing so far? "LOL"
on the 26th September, 2019 at 7:00pm
Give it until Christmas :')
on the 26th September, 2019 at 5:14pm
How many blogs hyping Inter for a Scudetto challenge after 5 weeks now?! LOL will wait for you all to hide your faces come the end of the season.
on the 26th September, 2019 at 4:52pm
so after every game do we get an article about how inter are going to win the title, or likely to be there, we know they will be, they have conte and marotta, but this is getting as tiresome as the Juve cheat responses at the bottom of every blog, a good win, under pressure, not leaking goals, winning 1 nil, a very conte like team, and well worth a shout for the title, and Juve were yet again very very poor
on the 26th September, 2019 at 4:07pm
Politano should also not play. I lost count the number of times he couldn't complete a simple pass. And no composure when a very good chance presented itself.

Also isn't it refreshing to not have to read or hear about Cancer Icardi? Great riddance. Overall excellent moves by the club this summer.
on the 26th September, 2019 at 9:15am
@ black and blue
Az an azzurri fan it's delightful to see Barella and Sensi taking their games to another level. Due to watching so many talents such as Rugani, Romagnoli, Bernardeschi, Belotti and many others have not hit the promised level through the years ,I'm a little pessimistic about Italian talents nowadays. I hope they keep up their good form and carry it to Euros.
on the 26th September, 2019 at 9:08am
on the 26th September, 2019 at 9:07am
For Inter a 2nd place finish with CL qualification in April, a decent stab at the coppa and being still in the CL in the NY(unlikely now) would be great and would be very acceptable. Please note - nobody is saying Inter is going to win Seria A - I just thought I would include that as no Inter players, management or fans ever say this, (with the exception of Cassano) though they we are always accused of saying it.
on the 26th September, 2019 at 6:31am
Neccessary win and it will go far with our title credentials. Top three or four teams are naturally called title chasers untill it become a two horse race. So we just need to look at ourseleves and our faults and critical as well simple fixtures. Alexis needs to start he got something more that we haven't in our other players. We need all this little breakthrough to crossover a full season. Vecino's stoppage time winner, thumping lukaku or sanchez brilliance....
on the 26th September, 2019 at 5:12am
Still early in the season but great signs from Inter, they have totally revolutionised the team and club. Conte needs to stop playing Vecino. Sensi, Barella and Brozo are fantastic together although will need to learn about shielding their defence. Otherwise we continue to create chances at will, especially when sides are chasing a result against us
on the 26th September, 2019 at 12:20am
Still early in the season but great signs from Inter, they have totally revolutionised the team and club. Conte needs to stop playing Vecino. Sensi, Barella and Brozo are fantastic together although will need to learn about shielding their defence. Otherwise we continue to create chances at will, especially when sides are chasing a result against us
on the 26th September, 2019 at 12:17am
solid result for inter, Lazio through everything at them in the first half and probably should have scored, but inter were completely in charge in the second half missing 2-3 incredibly easy chances. Funny it coincided with Vecino coming off, who offered nothing! The most exciting part is for azzurri fans, barella and sensi look like they will play a massive role for Italy, both have taken huge steps in their career and have been amazing this season so far.
on the 26th September, 2019 at 12:13am

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