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Wednesday January 27 2021
Inter to move from chaos to catalyst

Inter showed their usual strengths and weaknesses in the Milan derby and Richard Hall argues Antonio Conte played a key role after the spat between Romelu Lukaku and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

For Inter this was a case of chaos to catalyst, it was about keeping calm in madness and pulling together. Many things in this Derby could have been and will be bemoaned from both sides, but in those minutes, as the clock ticked on, it was not the place.

Were Inter lucky, were Milan better, was it going to boil over, were mistakes made from both sides? That didn’t matter. All that mattered right then, was the result and the Nerazzurri got it. Now when the dust has settled on the Madonnina of madness, it is now time to take stock on what they did right and what they got very wrong.

The Coppa Italia has rarely thrown up a fixture like this in recent times and for the neutral, the game offered everything. Imagine this game with the Curva Nord, the Curva Sud and a full San Siro, however, that is digressing.

The game will always be remembered for the scuffle between the titans that are Zlatan Ibrahimović and Romelu Lukaku, it will be remembered for the Swedes sending off and of course that last gasp free kick from Inter’s black sheep ‘Pecora nera’, Christian Eriksen.

The truth is however, for Inter there was so much to learn from this game, so many areas of things they did right and wrong, things to be analysed and help them transition into a better team.

When talking of errors, one can look no further or find a better way to start than the inclusion and performance of Aleksandar Kolarov. The 35-year old has spent much of this season proving his inability to play not only in a back three for Inter but in any position.

His pace is gone, his mental awareness lacking and more shockingly his dead ball ability seems to have been left somewhere in the Eternal City. Admittedly, he was up against ‘Zlatan’, but let us not us forget his age.

Just before the first goal, he was turned out jumped by the Swede and his starting position was terrible. Culpable for Milan’s opener too, the signs were there for all to say that his days are numbered and its time to break with him.

Speaking of veterans, Samir Handanovic had a relatively quiet night considering so it maybe a strange change of pace to talk goalkeepers. Milan played their reserve goalkeeper, Ciprian Tatarusanu and despite being too far over for Eriksen’s free kick had a superb night showing that the Rossoneri have a backup that many Serie A teams would have as their first. Ionut Radu, Inter’s reserve, did not feature showing that Conte simply does not trust the Romanian.

If this is the case then he needs to find someone he does, as well as finding a replacement for Handanovic. Juan Musso of Udinese provided the best audition for the part this weekend and would be a superb acquisition that then could move Handanovic to number two.

Transfers will be on everyone’s lips at this time of year but not Antonio Conte’s for once. ‘Nobody in and nobody out’ he reiterated again after the game. Eriksen’s goal seems to have helped the coach cover over his early season snub of the Dane and now the talk is of tactical tweaks, a Marcelo Brozovic replacement and that that goal may help boost Christian’s confidence just like the ‘mister’ has been trying to do.

This may be good PR but Inter will not care, even if it has taken time, Eriksen in the squad is better than him out of it, it seems that is a positive development that can improve Inter.

If any player can make Inter better, it is the presence of Lukaku. The well-documented spat with Ibrahimović was box office but as the players walked down the tunnel, it seemed the Belgian had taken the bait and lost the plot. Conte’s ability to calm him and channel his aggression certainly worked and showed that Inter can play with intensity have a fighting spirit without going ‘level 10 Vidal’.

The team looked unified over a common cause and pulled together, showcasing maturity not yet seen. The coach should know this better than anyone as said after the game that “To be honest, I’ve been a player, so I know that during a game tempers can flare and situations occur when you get angry. The important thing is to keep it in the right dimension.”

There were other takes from the tumultuous affair that can need to be continued or improved on. Ivan Perisic showed again that whilst he works hard every game, his decision-making, defensive qualities and final ball are letting him down and perhaps needs a break from the first eleven.

Conte did move to a back four for a brief period in a game showing that Inter can play in different ways; many in black and blue will welcome this. In risk of sounding like the coach, Inter were again not clinical enough and this is becoming quite an issue, Finally Nicolo Barella was again superb and showed captain like qualities, first leading by example and then pointing out that there is no gap between Milan and Inter.

The Derby Della Madonnina was electric, it was frustrating, it was dominated at times by the referee and it was chaos for both teams. There is still plenty that can be learned from it however and for the Nerazzurri things look bright.

They are still riddled with issues but they seem to be slowly improving and what is more important is that they still have the chance of a double.

@RichHall80

Have your say...
Inter & Milan seems to have shifted transfer strategy from young promising players to old experianced players. While Juve did the shift to young promising. This in my opinion is a disaster in the making for Inter & Milan. As they don't have the financial power of Juve. So this Milan & Inter comback will be short-lived sadly
on the 29th January, 2021 at 2:23pm
Zlatan referencing a racist comment doesn't make his words less racist. An amazing talent and he has been an excellent leader propping up Pioli's tactical abilities but lack of stern leadership. Glad his poor behaviour was justly paid off. A lesson for others. Conte's stubborn blind spots are as much an issue as Inter's left side. Kolarov was terrible last year, fluidity in tactics is mandatory these days. Darmian & D'Ambrosio can play the left side for now until this can be properly addressed.
on the 28th January, 2021 at 3:59pm
Does anyone proof read these articles? The English is terrible; it’s clumsy and semi literate in parts. There are also spelling and multiple punctuation mistakes and words repeated and omitted.

E.g. Spot the mistakes - ‘Just before the first goal, he was turned out jumped by the Swede and his starting position was terrible. Culpable for Milan’s opener too, the signs were there for all to say that his days are numbered and its time to break with him’.
on the 28th January, 2021 at 8:40am
LMAO Zlatan is a self confessed devoted Catholic himself.
on the 28th January, 2021 at 1:52am
Well, it seems a Christian/Roman Catholic can be insulted and nothing done about it. Now can you imagine if one of the many Christians on the field insulted a player of , well any other religion, there would be bans and death threats.
on the 27th January, 2021 at 6:20pm
Milan's games against Atalanta and Juve show what would have happened in both of Inter's games with Milan if they had clinical finishers. Agreed Kolarov is really bad but neither him nor Perisic are regular starters yet Inter still concede unnecessary goals and put themselves at risk in most games. If their forward players took their chances 9 times out of 10, these players wouldn't even be a topic for discussion.
on the 27th January, 2021 at 5:47pm
@ Fabrizzio

What does being a big guy have to do with how fast you lose your temper? If you watch enough football you'll
realise Lukaku is, if anything, not aggressive enough.
on the 27th January, 2021 at 5:07pm
For a big guy Lukaku sure is quick to loose his temper! He did well to eventually regain his composure in the second half. The same cannot be said of Ibrahimovic who remained wound up and by continuing to be wreckless he destroyed Milans chances of a fair game.
Milan were comfortable and winning the tie before going down to 10 men and eventually it required 2 set pieces, the 2nd in the 97th minute to get the victory over a tiring Milan side.
Inter with no European football really needed this
on the 27th January, 2021 at 3:58pm
I agree with your comments @RichHall80, Kolarov, Perisic and Young shall be playing their last season at Inter. You forgot to mention in the article that due to some careless moves we will be without Lukaku and Hakimi on the next match and that can hurt.
on the 27th January, 2021 at 3:35pm
I wish lukaku had spanked that 40 year old she male.
on the 27th January, 2021 at 3:24pm

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