Thursday December 17 2020
Ugly but winning Inter

Inter may not be pretty to watch all the time, but Richard Hall believes they can win the Scudetto if players embody the determination and personality of their coach.

Not for years, had an Inter side this ugly, looked so beautiful. In a terrible game of football, the Nerazzurri thwarted Napoli to win by a single goal from the penalty spot. They were fortunate and they rode their luck at times but more importantly, they passed a huge test at the end of 2020. They still have much to do but as this year comes to its conclusion, they have the opportunity of finishing at the top of Serie A. If they can make this type of win become the norm then they will realistically have a challenging all the way to the end.

“It was not a great game, but these are important points against an ambitious team like Napoli, always protagonist of our championship, these points and are worth double.” These were the words of Antonio Conte after the game where he reflected just how needed this win was for the Nerazzurri. He and the team had been much criticised after they dropped out of Europe altogether and they needed not just a reaction but a statement win. Napoli had also not played well but did test Samir Handanovic in the Inter goal on mote then one occasion but dogged determination won in the end.

Listen to any interview that is given by Conte and one word will re-occur, suffering. This is what he expects from his team and this is what he seemingly does from the side-lines. From this suffering, he is of the belief that this is where the strongest characters emerge. People who have scars on their souls have at least experienced pain and therefore they have the hunger to win. They must suffer in silence and show respect, for Conte suffering is almost a gift.

In football terms, it is of course less dramatic but it does make sense. He wants players to run, to chase to not hide if they make a mistake and have the courage to take chances. Out of all the teams he could have chosen to coach, perhaps Inter, with their history of genius mixed with implosion was as far from that vison as you can get.

It has always been the team from Turin that has been lauded for not playing at their best and still winning games. Just look at the shock last night as Juventus failed to beat Atalanta at home and instead came away with a draw. The DNA of ‘The Old Lady’ will not tolerate this and you can bet that Parma will take the brunt if this next weekend.

The coach did make it clear after the game that this will all be for nothing should Inter make slip up in their next two games. Spezia and Hellas Verona are the two that they will face, with the latter being in good form bar a loss last time against Sampdoria.

Inter here need to project an aura of dominance and superiority, they do not and should not need to suffer here. Conte alluded to this, saying that this team perhaps suffers too much. Even so, if the performance against Spezia per say, is not up to scratch then they again need to find a way, as a team, to dig deep and grab three points.

It is always difficult to judge a character like Conte as the emotions and the language can be misconstrued as an act or drama for the sake of drama, but he is very real. He has a hunger and a determination and unshakable self-belief. He is incredibly stubborn and very inflexible and he wants all of his players to be the same. He wants them to fight for every ball and leave everything on the pitch and it is fair to say against Napoli they did this. Was it beautiful? God no, was it successful, absolutely.

The Nerazzurri move on and Conte for now will feel that his team are giving as much as he is to the cause. Some may think he is deluded, some may feel that he is running with all his might of cliff top but even if he is, he believes he can fly.

If Inter can maintain the level of stubbornness that their coach has, even against the smaller teams, then they may not be pretty to watch all the time, but they may just win a Scudetto sometime soon.





Have your say...
You all were complaining at the beginning of the season when inter were scoring a lot and licking a lot they were very entertaining to watch,now that inter are winning ugly you all complaining again.

I like conte yes he is stubborn and yes he probably plays one dimension but the guy is a winner he has won everywhere,man when he was Italy coach he had no players Eder and Pepe in attack he almost won the euros.

I’m a Milan fan as much as i like to see Milan win i think inter going to win Scudetto
on the 23rd December, 2020 at 4:40pm
To respond some of the comments from milanisti here, Milan are doing very well so far. They remind me of Inter during spalletti era, improving from mediocrity back to top-4. If they stay injury free, they might challenge for scudetto until the end. Sadly (well luckily for us), injuries already happened all over the pitch for them.
The Man City comparison is nonsense. Inter spend money within their means, otherwise suning would've already got Messi. Other teams spend less because they earn less.
on the 20th December, 2020 at 4:54am
The last match was more to Napoli's credit than Inter's deficiency. The mentality of protecting the win is the main issue here, not tactical. Previously, there's nothing wrong with the attacking potential and creating chances. In fact, we conceded too many goals, it's entertaining for neutral but nerve breaking for the fans.
Gags is basically like conte himself when he's still playing. Hardwork, physical midfielder that kinda good in everything except flair/creativity. Boring but good soldier.
on the 20th December, 2020 at 4:32am
Also a 39 yr old is your main source of goals and his absence is hurting you a lot. Shows you that youth can’t do it all. Not having a dig at Milan it’s good to see you finally turning things around I want to enjoy a competitive derby where we don’t know who’s going to win, but let’s face it inter are still always going to be 1.30 favs. Get your club finances right, build a competitive team with a bench and Youl get there. 1st step is top4 but youl need 2-3 yrs of it b4 being genuine challengers
on the 20th December, 2020 at 1:21am
Great you have a young team, but let’s face it, the main reason for this is because Milan can’t afford to spend money on established players. Also the hope is they turn world class. Not to get Milan back to the top, but to increase their price tags to sell at a premium. OR make the club attractive to a buyer with valuable assets. Get the idea out your head that the tactic is being done for the good of Milan. Also young players are inconsistent. Hence Milan’s form at times.
on the 20th December, 2020 at 1:17am
Cont'd. Suning still needs to be expense conscious. Otherwise they would have spent 300m last summer. Arab sovereign wealth funds don't even need to pretend to care about balancing books. The only comparison to City is PSG, and maybe early Abramovich, but even he has had to face financial realities. There is just no comparison to Gulf state oil money. Finally, no Milan won't win the title. They're just not ready (equipped) yet. Top 4 is still our ultimate target. Eyes on that prize fellow fans.
on the 19th December, 2020 at 9:44pm
I don't know what all the hubbub is about. I agree with those saying there are double standards. Juve has won a ton on the back of 1-0 wins. And that's fine. Sure, everyone wants to play like 2008-12 Barcelona, but until you figure out how to win and play like gods it's just win. As to owners there is no comparing Suning to Li. Li was trash. Suning is a real and reputable business. Suning is much closer to the Agnellis/Fiat, than to Li. City is something completely different. Cont'd.
on the 19th December, 2020 at 9:39pm

Fair points. Yes, they have over-achieved. Top 4 would be a success given previous seasons.

You're right - Inter's owners have been far better than the bandits Milan got from China, unfortunately :(
on the 19th December, 2020 at 5:01pm

I said the Milan "owners" were the mercenaries, not you or the team - whichever u meant

Milan have a young team because they're broke. U said recently Milan might get Haaland for 70m! Not a chance in hell, those days are gone

The reason Juve/Inter can pay far more than Milan is because they were run properly (mostly), and not by a crooked has-been Berlusconi and Chinese cowboys

You have 2 players on big wages, not 1

That team with no soul has beaten your team plenty of times recentl
on the 19th December, 2020 at 4:34pm
@ferban - yes we are owned by a hedge fund who will likely sell us in the next year or two, but the hope is they build up the brand first. Not sure what viktor is talking about, if you ask any real milanista we will tell you that we hope our next owners will be like inter’s and able to bring back economic stability to the club. Even now we know our results have been lucky at best with players over achieving. Hoping we can hold on for top 4. Think the sass game is going to be a bad one.
on the 19th December, 2020 at 12:42pm

Im very aware who owns Milan and Im also very aware that we have a young, promising team, with talent, no high salaries except for Ibra, hungry passionate to their team Milan.

Look at inter, they signed Eriksen, you can say what you want but he was top 10 in the world in the position and he isn't even playing for you, shameful.
on the 19th December, 2020 at 12:19pm
@FERBAN I started watching Milan mid 80s... have maybe missed 10 games in 3 decades. Maybe you should look up the word mercenary. Milan has an average age of 23, some players from the youth academy, few big names, a team built to grow. Inter on the other hand is big name, big salaries, no sould JUST LIKE CITY. Merry Christmas.
on the 19th December, 2020 at 12:16pm
@dzur - our first choice mid is broz, barella and Vidal. Then prob sensi if he was fit. Gags plays because he’s the next after that and Wev had a ton of injuries. Conte likes him because he runs hard. He actually plays pretty well against smaller teams but agreed not good against the big ones. And he was a star for Atalanta, would start for Milan not that different in quality to Kessie. We will likely bring in another option in Jan anyways.
on the 19th December, 2020 at 1:04am

Inter are like Man City?!

No, not really

No more than Milan are like Man City. Inter owners inherited a mess, and have slowly built the club's name up

Milan's owners were the real mercenaries

Turns out they were broke and now Milan are far more of a venture capital than your neighbours you accused of being

Did you stop supporting Milan when they were owned by one of the most corrupt politician ever in Berlusconi? Or when they were "owned" by the Chinese bandits?
on the 18th December, 2020 at 10:15pm
It is funny that you say this as a Milan fan. You obviously do not know who owns you now and in the last few years.

Inter is shit, but I dont think it is a good omen. Now we are just lucky. Conte is an idiot, he think we can start every game with a man down. Gagliardini would never get into any other top 6 team, yet he is the first name on the team sheet. This explains why we are a pain to watch. Does anyone know if he blackmails Conte? I do not see any other reasons why he is at Inte
on the 18th December, 2020 at 5:55pm
Win ugly or not, all these games will be irrelevant if Inter end up losing the games against Juve. They lost both games last season, which effectively handed the title to Juve as they finished a point behind. The tie in Turin is the penultimate game of the season so will likely decide where the league title goes. I expect Juve to improve and go on a run of wins so Inter needs to win the tie at the San Siro and be at least 4pts ahead when they get to Turin so it isn't decisive in the title race.
on the 18th December, 2020 at 4:27pm
Yes could have been 5-2 easily but it wasn’t. Inter have to be the most unluckiest team this season with the amount of near misses, how many cross bars against shakhtar was it? And I t could have easily been 3-2 in the derby our way but it wasn’t. Didn’t you say Milan were sitting back defending hence all the inter chances that game? Sounds the same as genoa.. That’s football. Yes 3 core players out with no replacements and without them your squad drops easy points.
on the 18th December, 2020 at 1:19pm
Inter were lucky, they most likely will win the league but I hope not...Napoli have been very unlucky this season. A sending off that was unjustified in both the big games against Milan and Inter and then the decision on the Juve game and 1 point deduction. They would be right up there had a few more things gone their way.

Not saying that Napoli are battling for the scudetto but I don't see the teams above being much stronger. If anything Inter looked second best in nearly all aspects with us.
on the 18th December, 2020 at 12:45pm
@viktor mn city? Really ? Lol Wev been able to spend more money recently because suning have built up our brand and made us profitable with smart business decisions. We stuck undr FFP for years until they saved us. They are long term owners but even if they aren’t, the business side ain’t gonna change. Howevr u are closer to bankruptcy than being anywhere near remotely profitable lol + your owned by a hedge fund, just looking to turn a profit.
on the 18th December, 2020 at 11:56am
are you drunk or what? when series a at the top in 80s, juventus can compete again milan's dutch trio,diego napoli, zico udine, german trio inter, fiorentina socrates, etc because they play ugly under trapattoni. the same true for Lippi who always been criticized with lack European football success because juve play too passive, every successful era of juve almost always play ugly. that why they dominate series a but lacking UCL trophy
on the 18th December, 2020 at 11:34am

"Milan starting to fall away as expected"

2 draws and we are falling away... We have played without 3 core players for 2 games...We are on top because we haven't lost in the league for 9 month. The game against part could have been 5-2 EASILY.

Genoa was the ONLY poor performance we have played in months yet we fought back. Yes, you have a far greater squad but at least Milan plays with heart and Soul unlike you mercenaries
on the 18th December, 2020 at 9:14am
Yes, Inter win (bar Europe, unless you get out your DVD of the one-off 2010 season) ugly, but so do most Serie A sides

The lack of fluency, ball control, and pace is evident in Italy. Look at all the sharp, skillful teams Spain (now fading) has produced over the years

Serie A football is behind the times. Too many dinosaurs still working in it. Too much red tape

As for Conte, it seems he'd genuinely rather scrape a 2 - 1 win with 2 terrible goals rather than outplay the opponent and win 5-0
on the 18th December, 2020 at 7:58am
Is true winning ugly is good but not against a team playing with ten men is utterly unacceptable.Napoli deserve atleast a point for their performance especially down to ten men.Conte is so lucky to have these set of players that win him games in Serie A due to their talent and atimes luck but to be honest he is getting worse tactically and that is why he couldn't win in Europe. There's no excuse for him not to win the scudetto this season but even he does someone like Allegri needs to take over.
on the 18th December, 2020 at 7:37am
From an interista again,

When Juventus plays hideous football, as they have been during their 9 year reign in Serie A. You want to talk about a team that exemplifies hideous football? It is Juventus. They have won so many games from dead ball situations, and other team mistakes late in the game, never dominating a match. And even better, when they win a game last minute it is "Fino Alla Fine".. and at inter, we are "pazza". Big time double standards.
on the 17th December, 2020 at 10:06pm
From an interista,

I am so sick and tired of articles like this, framing inter as a team that does not play nice football, and has been getting "lucky" lately. You want to talk about luck? .. Did you guys watch Lukaku in the EL final and during our game vs Shaktar in CL group? and you want to talk about luck? Not to mention we had hit 4 crossbars across both legs vs Shaktar. I am not reaching for an excuse, but merely highlighting the media coverage.
on the 17th December, 2020 at 10:03pm
Inter play ugly. They play like a small team would, they just have better players, so they can take those chances that drop to every team from time-to-time.

It's why Conte is so bad in Europe, where he doesn't get the shield of being the coach of a big team. In England, Chelsea had no European football to play, so they did well. The next year the team imploded.

If they turn things around, great, but the style is ugly and their point total flatters them.
on the 17th December, 2020 at 9:51pm
Good result for us. We aren’t fighting it out with inter, we are in a battle for top 4 and Napoli are probably most likely to give us the most trouble. Hopefully we can maintain our gap from them, fully expect inter and juve to pull ahead of the chasing pack as we start the new year. Hate to say it but I think inter will win it this year sadly, too much quality and a full week to rest players unless conte ruins it for them with one of his tantrums.
on the 17th December, 2020 at 8:46pm
If Inter had seen it out comfortably after scoring and being a man up then you might have a point. They didn't. They were clinging on against 10 men.
I'm an Inter fan and want them to do it. My encouragement comes from the other challengers being pretty average as well.
on the 17th December, 2020 at 8:45pm
Ugly win but no different to Napolis win against us in coppa last year. That won them a trophy. Being able to grind a result is vital to any title hope. Let’s see what yesterday’s result brings. 5 in a row in serie a, really should be able to finish this year off in style, likely to be top by Christmas with Milan starting to fall away as expected. Sensi starting to show some signs of his old self, will be a completely new signing if he can get back to fitness in the second half of the season.
on the 17th December, 2020 at 8:38pm
Use to have somewhat respect for Inter as Milan fan... now they are just another Man City of Italy. Probably will win the league, and Im fine with that, because they have zero soul. Its just a venture of capital that's working out for a brief period until it gets split to the highest buyer. Bravo.
on the 17th December, 2020 at 8:26pm

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