Friday February 21 2020
Inter took Ludogorets seriously

Football Italia Chief Correspondent Richard Hall insists Inter took the right approach to their tough Bulgarian trip, even if it made for dull viewing.

The Parc des Princes will, for many Milanese, remind them of the epic UEFA Cup victory against Lazio. This tournament is heavily embedded in the blue and black heart of the club. Remember Casino Salzburg 1993-94? Remember Roma in 90-91? These are victories that fans still see as history, as part of the DNA of the club. When Antonio Conte picked a solid and capable squad ahead of the game against Ludogorets, it made sense. This was not going to be easy, and he was proved right.

It is fine to remember Paris, Javier Zanetti and Ronaldo’s goals being the lasting memories. It is fine remembering Nicola Berti in Vienna. It is even acceptable, for the older of us, to wax lyrical about the German influence in 1991. Remember Klinsmann? In all of these campaigns and that includes many of the Nerazzurri’s Champions League outings, there have been troublesome ties in mid-season. There is no doubt that the Milanese want to be a big club, no, not just a big club, one of Europe’s elite. It is for this reason that that the squad depth needed to be proven in Bulgaria.

Play the kids, it’s only Ludogorets. This is a negative mind set. It’s an arrogance that disrespects your opponents. Teams that win, respect themselves and the opposition. As we saw with Manchester United and Liverpool in the past decade, there is criticism when they don’t. Regularity, consistency and togetherness, this is the bedrock of teams that win. When Conte played a serious team, it was justified. What he found was a Ludogorets side who were no pushovers.

Admittedly, the Bulgarians did qualify with the fewest points of any teams from the group stage and while conceding the most goals, largely due to a 6-0 defeat at Espanyol. They had changed coach in January and their winter break only just concluded earlier this month, so scouting them was a difficult task for Inter.

So what did Antonio Conte learn? Firstly, his fringe players have character. The much-judged Daniele Padelli got his clean sheet. He had little to do, but it’s important anyway. This was a goalkeeper, superb at Torino, an Inter fan, a man happy to play understudy, whose mistakes are simply a factor of his lack of game time.

The bench was strong, Romelu Lukaku would be influential later on, the great Dane would start, this was the incredible, no, sensible mix that makes Inter look like a credible and elite team. More than that, Christian Eriksen played and scored, he is the new hope, the angel of San Siro that will give creativity to the Milanese, that edge in the final throes of the Scudetto challenge. They want to break him in slowly, and against the Bulgarians he looked like he was ready for more.

It is easy to ignore far-flung Europa League fixtures, but every game tells a story. It is simply ignorant to think that any match is boring, irrelevant or non-descript, despite how poor it is. This was a game that showed that Inter have depth, character and an ability to get the job done. This was a game everyone will forget, because it was terribly dull. The Nerazzurri learned that they had enough quality to win when they were tired and tested in Eastern Europe.

Will you forget this game? Yes? On that note, do you remember, Inter’s draw with Atalanta in 1991 in the UEFA Cup? I bet few of you remember Dennis Bergkamp’s hat-trick against Rapid Bucharest? Can you actually off the top of your head remember the goals? This simple point is, these games fall into insignificance, however, never disrespect the importance of taking the competition seriously. Squad depth, game time, positivity, there is so much to enjoy. The game was poor, the longevity of the confidence is extreme. Dig in and get the job done. It’s a positive environment.

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Have your say...
We need to take pinamonti back to our account as we can not imagine progress without promoting our home-ranks. As they are the real identity of the club as xavi were to barca. Long stout stength and determination is sole purpose of the club of ours heart.....
on the 28th February, 2020 at 6:36am
@ I miss Luciano Moggi @ Juventus (love your name by the way) You don't have to miss the Black and Blue Italian team in CL because the best Black & Blue team in Italy is still in CL - ATALANTA! you know why Inter is not there? it's because Inter blew a 2-0 half time lead to park the bus the 2nd half and lose 3-2 to Borussia Dortmund ! Like Honestly, does it take 10 years just to see Inter past the group stage ? how hard can it be if Atalanta can do it on their first try ??
on the 24th February, 2020 at 7:26pm
Inter should take it seriously to gain important coefficient points and a few pennies.
on the 22nd February, 2020 at 11:20pm

You are a mega troll,... a Juve fan!

Inter Milan = Always Serie A
on the 22nd February, 2020 at 11:30am
De Vriz=60M Skrinnier=100M Lautarro=120 Brozovic=60M Barella=80M Sensi=60M Ericksen=80M Lukaku=100M I think we're close to owning the half buck of the Serie A!
on the 22nd February, 2020 at 11:13am
@ Marco Branca Hi Marco - Looking forward to getting knocked out of the CL by Liverpool and running away crying?
on the 22nd February, 2020 at 9:01am
Its pathetic to see serial trollers in the blogg who just hate sere a! So why just come here at first place?? Aren't you guys have better things to do!! And the current value of Inter squad is half the the amount of what juventas have..... do use the calculator please.. joke much..
on the 22nd February, 2020 at 4:54am
@FERBAN: Europa League is designed for those mediocre club teams or the Champions League rejects so it's perfect for Inter. Let the average teams worry about winning an average tournament and let the big boys play for the big trophies.
on the 21st February, 2020 at 4:03pm
Agree with the post. All competitions should be taken to win, never to loose. You owe it to your supports and all the team. Winning breeds confidence and also has mental and psychological benefits for the players. Making excuses for loosing as acceptable has a negative effect on the psyche. It's a shame that Lazio still has a looser mentality in Europe. Napoli used that excuse also and look where it got them.
on the 21st February, 2020 at 3:50pm
Inter does not currently have 2 teams of similar value (like JuBentus) to compete on all fronts. EL is good to play others but there any many good teams who can focus on this competition only. So for Inter, the priority will be on Serie A and Coppa (easier target in number of matches).
on the 21st February, 2020 at 3:37pm
Time for Italian teams to win in Europe. ..and why not take it seriously. .it is a builds confidence..and to be honest champions league is probably not realistic for any Italian club yeto. .I hope inter and roma go far
on the 21st February, 2020 at 1:29pm
Someone from Serie A needs to take it seriously, because its over 2 decades since Italy even had a finalist in this competition, let alone a winner.

Roma will probably be found out with their poor defence, so it could be down to Inter.

However, they have bigger fish to fry in the league and their EL run may suffer because of it.
on the 21st February, 2020 at 9:32am
Our journey in the Europa League will be one of squad rotation and using this tournament to give playing time to those who haven’t had much space. Let’s not forget that this is a competition that can crush you on a mental and physical level if you think of playing the same team on Thursday and Sunday.”Whoever call this person a "winner" i will him...
on the 21st February, 2020 at 6:00am
Very true. Clubs of Inters stature have to take all competitions seriously. To coin the RNLI motto - 'drown you may but go you must.' Clubs of Inter's stature have to try in every competition even if they are unsuccessful in all. Inter are performing beyond my expectations for this season, given all the changes. However, next season they will be very strong.
on the 21st February, 2020 at 5:37am

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