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Monday November 9 2020
What is going wrong with Inter?

Antonio Conte may have told his critics to ‘stay off the wine’ but it was his team who bottled it in Bergamo, writes Richard Hall.

This season is beginning to have a repetitive feeling for those of the Nerazzurri persuasion and the team once again produced a display that was full of mistakes and lacked a killer instinct.

So much was expected of Inter this season but despite showing character, they have lacked quality in key areas of the pitch. Conte explained that “a coach can only do so much” but as they languish in seventh place, he has to fix these issues quickly.

There is no getting away from the fact that the Nerazzurri have won only one game in their last eight matches. It is true that Inter have had players who tested positive for Covid, just as other teams have in the league and it is understandable that in these circumstances they are tired. In the game against Atalanta however, both teams played at an impressive pace and whilst the away side did show a determination to win the game they looked sloppy both in attack and in defence and what is more they look at shadow of themselves last term.

In normal circumstances, a draw in Bergamo against Atalanta would not have been a bad result but without the raucous home support and the fact that they had just come back of a thrashing at the hands of Liverpool, the side from Bergamo looked like they could be got at.

So what is going wrong with Inter? Conte bemoaned the fact that they have not been clinical enough and this is true. Marco Sportiello may have made two good saves but that was all he was asked to do and this has been a similar story all season long. The lack of creativity leads into the argument about Christian Eriksen and his lack of game time as Conte is under fire for not using him more often.

It seemed like the Inter juggernaut of last season also only seems to operate when Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez and on the pitch together, something that has not happened in recent weeks due to Lukaku’s injury.

Defensively it is arguable to say that Inter looked better with what would be thought to be the ideal back three. Milan Skriniar was a welcome return to the squad as he partnered Stefan De Vrij and Alessandro Bastoni. This was the defence that with Diego Godin (now of Cagliari) looked so rock solid last term. Even so, they could not prevent an equaliser from Aleksey Miranchuk but overall there seemed to be more stability and calm throughout the game and especially compared to the make shift defence Conte started the season with.

Taking all this into account, one may feel that, with Lukaku and Martinez back up from together up front, the former with seven goals in his last eight and the latter hitting two for two that this and the defence being back together, Inter may hit some form. This is where Conte will not be so sure and why his words about his strikers really do ring true. Inter are creating chances, they simply are not finishing them at the rate they should.

Take Zlatan Ibrahimović (eight goals in 16 chances), Cristiano Ronaldo (six goals in 12 chances) and even Andrea Belotti (six goals in 12 chances), they all have a 50% contribution. Now let us look at Romelu Lukaku (five goals in 16 chances) he has a 31% contribution, meanwhile Lautaro (four goals in 16 chances) and 25%. Conte is right; his strikers are not clinical enough.

Inter simply are not looking as efficient as they were last term and there are reasons for this. The main reason is that last term they managed to keep the starting eleven solid for most of the campaign. This season, injuries and COVID have not allowed that and the substitutes that Conte shouted so loudly for are not stepping up to the plate either.

He knows this and this is why many thought him less animated on the touchline. He may have told those who mentioned this to ‘lay of the wine’ but his team at present are ugly. In the morning, his critic’s heads will be clear but his team shall remain ugly.

@RichHall80 

Have your say...
What do fans want? Its hard to win on the pitch but easy to criticize. Inter have come a long way under Conte while expectations have soared. Every coach makes errors in player choices and tactics and the pressure in Milan to succeed is enormous, yet Conte has handled it with grace & dignity. His record of success is undeniable so fans expect championships and sucess but it was only a few years back that the team was lost, uncompetitive. He has brought stability, leadership & competitive desire.
on the 12th November, 2020 at 4:00pm
I think the criticism of Conte only being interested in old players is over the top when you take into account he has bought Lukaku, Barella, Hakimi and Sensi to the club, as well as brought Bastoni back to the club and into the first team. I agree signing Vidal and Kolarov was a disastrous move but I feel that was more in the interest of abiding by FFP rules as Inter had already spent EUR85m on Hakimi, Barella and Sensi.
on the 12th November, 2020 at 2:52pm
What's going wrong? It's simple, really. Ask Inter players who can't handle pressure from media and demanding fans. As Juve fan, I still have fond memories of Conte. I read critics about his football idea and I feel it's mostly wrong. However, I like Inter in bad forms and his decision to join them with Marotta in charge is plainly stupid. That makes him look like inflamed loser who wants to get revenge after his proposal to coach Juve for 2nd time got rejected by Agnelli.
on the 11th November, 2020 at 11:21am
Chinter (i.e. China Internazionale) has never been a top club. Only time they won is when they joined forces with the mafia and got all Juventus players for free. As soon as all Juve players left, they stop winning.
on the 11th November, 2020 at 10:58am
The midfield is 1 signing away from either being good for the next 5-10 years or needing a rebuild in 2 years. Bring in a top young talent like they should've done with Tonali and they alongside Barella will provide the midfield platform to build the team around. However, if he adds yet another ageing player to replace the outgoing Eriksen then all of a sudden in 2-3 years the only player who will still be good enough will be Barella and Inter will need to rebuild with 2 top class, expensive mid
on the 11th November, 2020 at 9:51am
Inter currently still have some good young players, Hakimi, Bastoni, Barella and Martinez are all good and young enough to play in the team for potentially 10 years but Conte could ruin all that as he's done with the defence. Instead of bringing in 1 young defender like Kumbulla or Milenkovic he went for Darmian & Kolarov and will probably force Skriniar out meaning in a year or two they'll have to rebuild the defence again.
on the 11th November, 2020 at 9:47am
@Domski

Completely correct. It's a very Italian mentality to buy ageing players or hold onto ageing players for too long looking for immediate success and leaving bloated squads on huge wages with no resale value. AC Milan did it for years buying big name has beens, Juve did it more recently and now have a huge rebuilding job having to let players like Higuain who cost £90mill go for free, and Conte looks like he's going down the same road at Inter.
on the 11th November, 2020 at 9:41am
Conte hates playing younger players! This Inter team will be ready to self destruct in a year, what makes me laugh is the Chinese ownership trusts this imbecile to staff this team with high cost has beens, with any luck they will remove Marrotta and Conte when everything hits the fan, this team has Lautaro and Barella after that its a wash with ageing overpaid un trade-able has beens, Ive watched this team in action
and there is zero hope in the CL and virtually zero hope in Serie A!
on the 11th November, 2020 at 3:38am
Ah yes Conte sure loves those ageing slow paced players.... even Juve recognized they needed to be younger and quicker to win, its not easy with these new fresh players but a team needs to get younger to keep up with pace of teams, Conte is a stubborn italian fool who prefers to work with seasoned older veterans, he will never guide Inter in the Champions league much less win in Italy ... Im happy we have seen the last of him cryinging in Turin
on the 11th November, 2020 at 3:24am
Conte should sign a lifetime contract with Inter for the work he has done so far. He has won no trophies for inter, they have got worse this season, this team will be so full of deadwood that when the next manager takes over they will have to rebuild over half the squad and guess what - these results have cost inter 300 million in reinforcements over the last 2 seasons.....maybe Inter will learn that signing ex-Juventus coaches is not the way to win !
on the 10th November, 2020 at 6:14pm
Conte is wrong. I'm thankful for the way he dragged Juve out of the hole and set us on an unbelievable and ongoing run of scudettos in a row. Even going a whole season without a loss. But football has changed since then and serie a has gotten a lot stronger. Is no longer enough to just run more than your opponents, which seems to be Contes only tactics.
on the 10th November, 2020 at 4:09pm
I hope after the game against Real Madrid in the CL the management will finally consider sacking him because is long overdue. He buys old and outcasts players and he's too rigid, how can you win games when you're not flexible with your tactics.
on the 10th November, 2020 at 2:33pm
Inter's problem is the midfield. A part from Barella, you have a midfield that is slow and deprived of ideas going forward. Sometimes our defenders are also too slow in getting the ball forward. Handa,De Vrij, Lautaro are underperforming compared to last season. But the season has just started. Let's hope something can change
on the 10th November, 2020 at 12:58pm
I can see why Inter kept Conte, 2nd and EL final were significant progress on paper, but I was disappointed they did.

His 'win now', just means signing old war horses on huge wages, as soon as we passed up Tonali for Vidal, this is exactly what would happen.

regressive, old fashioned thinking, Inter were supposed to be a new and innovative project

He's building a deadwood squad making it hard for a new manager to clear it out when, as expected, he's fired or flounces out
on the 10th November, 2020 at 12:24pm
FERBAN makes some very good points and what's worse is that he hasn't learnt from this as he's still going after the likes of Alonso, Emerson, Giroud, and Kante. 3 of those are not good enough for a top level team and whilst I rate Kante he is not what Inter need, they have enough runners in midfield they need someone with more quality who can open a defence and a top class lwb.
on the 10th November, 2020 at 9:52am
Conte should be fired before it is too late. He wasted money on players he will not need and his salary requires him to win the league and CL. Why then is he OVER PAID?
on the 10th November, 2020 at 4:56am
All falling apart this season. In cruise control against atalanta should have gone 2 up when vidal missed easy 1 on 1 with keeper, then somehow concede a goal that should never have gone in. Looks like handa's last season! Give the promising Radu a chance please. Any other keeper saves that goal. Dropping way too many points in games that should easily have been won, thats the difference. So much pressure on conte when they have been the better team in almost every game this season!
on the 10th November, 2020 at 1:12am
Perhaps if Conte quit with his obsession of signing over-the-hill has-beens (especially from the epl) on huge wages, then maybe Inter might actually do something

If Vidal, Darmian, Moses, Young, Sanchez, Kolorov, Eriksen (going downhill before he arrived) are not good enough for average teams such as Man Utd, then why would they be good enough for Inter?

Why is it that Serie A now signs these has-beens and gets all excited about it?

Serie A is getting like a souped-up version of Turkey
on the 9th November, 2020 at 11:04pm
Lovely read :)
on the 9th November, 2020 at 8:27pm
Bottom of the line, Inter must get rid of Conte!
Inter-Milano is a disaster under this incompetent coach, there’s nothing going wrong with the team except Conte himself. I cannot understand why the Management still holding or have any hope on Conte! The Management can bring Allegri for instance to shake the team up and bring the best out of the players. I strongly believe there’s no chemistry between Conte & the players! Time for change Time to move forward with a smart coach not old fashioned.
on the 9th November, 2020 at 6:12pm

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