Saturday February 27 2021
New life for Eriksen and Perisic

Christian Eriksen and Ivan Perisic have had a brilliant start to 2021 and Richard Hall explains what’s behind their development.

It could have all been so different, they both could have left and Inter would have been worse off for it.

Ivan Perisic and Christian Eriksen were all smiles after Inter demolished Milan during last weekend’s Derby Della Madonnina.

Their performances drew praise from media, ex-players and the coach. Should Antonio Conte be criticised for not having faith sooner? Should he be praised for working with them to adapt their style of play? Maybe none of that matters, as with the two in form, they could now give Inter a new dimension and perhaps even a Scudetto.

There was no doubt that the three players who were miraculous in the Derby were Romelu Lukaku, Lautaro Martinez and Samir Handanovic. There were also some excellent all-round performances from most of the team. Perisic and Eriksen however, stood out. This was perhaps as they have not been trusted in the early parts of the season and they looked like two new players.

This was certainly the thoughts of former Inter defender, ‘Beppe’ Bergomi, who was quick to say after the game Perisic is offering much more attacking threat on the left, whilst Eriksen’s defending had come on leaps and bounds. It is undoubtedly a stance that Conte would and does agree.

He believed that both players lacked certain elements and qualities that they needed to play in his system. He commented after the Derby “Perisic’s and Eriksen’s improvements make me proud. Barella arrived at Inter and settled in well immediately. Other players need more time, Eriksen needed time too. He has understood our ideas and the same is true of Perisic.”

He also said that last year Perisic did not have the same commitment, he explained how the Croat had gone onto change and has incredible potential if he believes in himself. 

The 32-year-old winger may find it strange to listen to his coach say he has potential; after all, he did win a treble with Bayern Munich last campaign. Conte could argue, however, that in that season he was a bit-part player with 11 starts with 11 appearances off the bench in the Bundesliga, Perisic produced four goals and three assists.

In Serie A this season, he has already had 13 starts and he has come off the bench eight times. Two goals and four assists are comparable statistics, but there is more to go and he will surpass this.

He played two games less in Inter’s Champions League and scored two goals less but let us not forget, Bayern won it that year, Inter went out in the group stages.

Whatever the thought process, Bayern did not purchase him and the end of the campaign, so he returned to Inter, where he played every other match.

Conte wanted him to be more direct offensively, more thoughtful defensively and to but in to the system. It seems that he has now done this and the two assists in the Derby showcased how much. His performance was arguably the best he has had in an Inter shirt and it looks like there is more to come.


As for Eriksen, there was much published about his fractious start at Inter. Did Conte even want him? Did Eriksen not want to play in the system? Was he lazy? There were many questions about his struggles to settle in at Inter.

Had relations broken completely? Indeed, it was a surprise to many when he did not leave in January. He played a mere 63 minutes in 2020 but in January, something changed. A display of 20 minutes against Sampdoria was followed up with his first 90 minutes the week after against Fiorentina. Then came that special moment went he put Milan out of the Coppa Italia with a free kick in the last minutes of the game just after coming on.

Since then he has flourished and he is featuring much more. Conte talks of changing his attitude, having more self-belief and his style of play has changed to see him more skilful without losing the exquisite range of passing and his brilliant style of play.

Now it also seems he is happy and as the weeks go by, it is expected he will feature more and more.

Whether circumstance or hard work from the coach (it is probably a mixture of the two) Inter now face the business end of the Scudetto race in a much better place.

Two castaways that most thought would not last long in Milan are now be eulogised over as much as the other conquering heroes of the Derby Della Madonnina.

Whatever the reasons, swallowed pride, hard work, belief or persistence with a vision, things look good for the Nerazzurri.


Have your say...
Half a billion euros worth starting 11 led by a top 5 coach in the world is recipe for success. There is no denying this team's top notch quality. They practically didn't have any rest nor training camp between the last and this season, combined with 3-4 absolute blunders from the referees, that caused them the CL knockout stages. Conte is right that if they've been there now, they'd be very difficult to beat. The only thing why we come back to CL, is that Seria A is foregone conclusion
on the 4th March, 2021 at 11:40am
Even as a Milan fan for almost 30 years, I gotta say that I'm happy that Inter is strong again, just as my Milan is on its way! Which only truly stresses da old saying - there can't be strong Serie A, without the Milanese clubs. Too bad that Napoli couldn't continue 2 evolve, as they were til late 2019, we'd be having 1 more very strong title contender!
Point is, it'll be devastating if now Inter crumbles because of Suning's financial problems! Serie A will lose mostly, with 1 of its giants out!
on the 3rd March, 2021 at 4:53pm
I'm the first to admit that Inter have made transfer errors of judgement in the past - there is always a gamble with any player but Inter in particular have overpaid for some terrible players. But let's keep the discussion current. This team doesn't have the kind of superstars the 2010 team had or teams before that, but it's got quality in every area. We have been improving year on year for a while now (league-wise anyway) so haters can criticise all they want, we'll do our talking on the pitch.
on the 2nd March, 2021 at 7:39pm
@I MISS MARCO BRANCA AT INTER... Paratici is an excellent director, one of a kind! Inter and Rest of Serie A teams love the fact that Juve have him as their director, keep up the good job!
on the 2nd March, 2021 at 5:18pm
@ Marco Branca - What you on about wives for? Marco Branca will be jealous! You love him - remember?
on the 2nd March, 2021 at 7:47am
Conte deserves much credit for the patience with both these players. He realized that
they still had enough talent to contribute to Inter's style of play and gave each time to adapt. Now Inter has become a force and the contribution of these players has only added to the teams success and dynamism. Conte's decisions on building a team not only with talent but experienced depth is paying off helping to change the entire outlook in Serie A. Hopefully $$ do not become a factor in the near future.
on the 1st March, 2021 at 8:37pm
@FABIO PARATICI: it's Not like Paratici got rid of Cannavaro to get Carini or trade Seedorf to get Francesco Coco because that would be a stupid move but it must have been good because Branca got a 12 year contract extension! or spend 115 million Euros on Joao Mario, Gabi-one-gol and Kondogbia because when you do that at Inter you still keep your Job! Regarding arthur, wouldn't you trade your 29 year old wife for a 23 year old wife ? if I could I would !!
on the 1st March, 2021 at 8:15pm
Conte must have realized that when Inter finished dead last in their CL group and being the only team in the top 5 leagues to do that by the way that Eriksen did more off the bench in 2 games vs Shaktar that the Entire roster did! Too bad he didn't realize this before setting Inter history as the only coach to ever Finish last in the CL group stage.
on the 1st March, 2021 at 7:25pm

Secondly, no team is coming for him either during the summer or the winter transfer with intent to have him play in his preferred position (as a winger).

Thirdly, Ashley Young consistent below par performance in the 1st half of the season plus no incoming LWB forced the idea of Perisic as LWB again.

Fourthly, Inter high potential to win the league might intrigue him to accept playing the role. He haven't win the Scudetto and this is his biggest chance to change that fact.
on the 1st March, 2021 at 2:45am
Perisic have shown good defensive qualities since years ago. Since Spalletti days. he will defend whenever required, usually when we had to play defensively intra game.

Becoming a WB in Conte system however means being on the defensive phase for almost the entirety of the match, and this seems do not jive well with what he want.

I suspected he ultimately decided to accept this role due to several factors e.g. he can actually play in the position if he put an effort i.e. he has the potential,
on the 1st March, 2021 at 2:36am
just remember fabio paratici also try to bring eriksen to rubentus but failed for sarri instead they trade pjanic with arthur because they think arthur fit sarri style better but they sacked sarri after trade done. best director ever.
on the 28th February, 2021 at 6:02pm
Another spot on by RH. True Inter suffered not because they're missing certain players but rather change of attitude and mostly trust between Coach and players. When both put aside their egos and fully committed to the team everything can change for the good. I'm very proud not because how Inter played but the unity and belief that has shown in this team. Its beautiful.
on the 28th February, 2021 at 8:44am
Eriksen wasnt fit enough when he arrived, so he couldnt put in the running that Conte demands.

Because he wasnt a protagonist in the attack either, total output from him was dissapointing for a long time.

Hes a weird player in the sense hes not strong, or fast or agressive, but his main qualities that we see these past matches is he never loses the ball and now that Inter play with two playmakers and two strikers, its too much to handle for this league.

Inter-Lazio 3-1
Milan-Inter 0-3
on the 28th February, 2021 at 6:16am
@Juveman, Respect. Juve got the $$ and they’re already rebuilding, though Pirlo might turn Kulu into another Berna.

Conte deserves credit. He tried to change with 3-4-1-2 to accommodate Eriksen but didn’t work. He found better solution, making eriksen a mezzala instead by improving his defensive awareness. Converting perisic into LWB instead of CF is also a masterstroke. The real accomplishment is he manages to convince these 2 who were worldclass in their prime to sacrifice & take up new roles
on the 28th February, 2021 at 1:44am
Credit where it’s due, inter are the top team now in serie a. Paratici needs to be fired, shown Marotta was the brains behind our team construction. Will take years to undo the bad decisions he has made. Let’s just hope it doesn’t take us as long as it took inter to come back after 2010. Would be good for serie a to have 2 world class teams rather than always being a 1 team country like Germany.
on the 27th February, 2021 at 10:34pm
Conte has shown why he’s a world class coach. He has managed to take 2 players who showed they weren’t suited for a position and made it work. With both of these players in form there are no holes in the starting team. He’s also coached our youth like bastoni barella and lautaro to become world class. Scary how good this team potential is. It’s exciting for interisti and a good advert for serie a. Had friends who don’t watch the league get in touch to say how impressive the team looks now.
on the 27th February, 2021 at 10:17pm

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