Friday March 12 2021
The key to Inter success

Inter have based their recent success on a rock-solid defence, but Richard Hall explains why Antonio Conte's system is more complex than it looks.

As far as defensive displays go, this was one of Inter's best this season. The nature of the celebrations in the dressing roomwere a testament to that and they also showed just how tough Atalanta are to play against.

Before the game, Antonio Conte knew that it would have been difficult to go toe to toe with Bergamo side in a possession-based game, so he turned to his defence.

This back-line now looks ever more dependable and as the end of the season is in sight, they will need to count on them even more.

The Nerazzurri are the Serie A leaders with a six-point lead over city rivals Milan with 12 games to go. Several observers, not only UK betting sites, consider them the favourites to win the Serie A title this season.

When looking at the Nerazzurri this season, one has to say they have come a long way. The partnership of Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez is an elite one.

The resurrection of Christian Eriksen and Ivan Perisic is timely and there seem to be no words for Nicolo Barella's abilities.

The team is far from perfect, but results against Serie A's big teams have been impressive and this improvement is down to the team all buying into Conte's plan.

The more they do it, the more it pays off, but they do have flaws.

The Nerazzurri are seemingly set up to play the top tier teams in Serie A, as they do not need the ball.

Whilst Conte would like them to play more (they are exhibiting signs of this), they are equally happy to absorb the pressure and they are devastating on the counter.

It is actually against the "smaller teams" who surrender possession that Inter have struggled against as it needs a new approach.

Even so, they would not be able to execute their plan if it was not for their stubborn defence.

Being out of Europe helping them in Serie A is somewhat of a myth when you look at how many games Milan and Juventus have played since Inter's exit, but there is some benefit.

The lack of travel time surrounding these games also need to be taken into account and Inter have had solid weeks on the training ground.

Conte and his staff have drilled them well and they have also been fortunate with injuries so that Alessandro Bastoni, Stefan De Vrij and Milan Skriniar have been allowed to play consistently in front of Samir Handanovic.

Conte has been adamant that he wants a specific type of players. He now has them and as previously mentioned, even the likes of Eriksen and Perisic have adapted to his way of thinking.

That means he now has a team who will constantly press and track back. This starts with the strikers who apply a "defend from the front mentality."

It is worth noting that as soon as the ball is lost, one of the strikers often applies the pressure letting the rest of the team fall back into position. Both Parma and Atalanta read this well in the last two games keeping the ball out wide and making it harder for the midfield and strikers to track but the team mentality showed how committed they are to this press.

Whilst the defence has been exceptional and performances like we saw from Milan Skriniar deserve praise, the defensive duties from the forwards, midfield and wingbacks also needs praise.

Conte's system is more complex than it looks as the midfielders play to be positioned ideally to counter and lose the ball.

The positioning of the wingbacks and the defensive midfielders, for instance, is ever-changing. The defensive midfielders often go wide in the build-up, so the wingbacks can float in.

The system is not perfect but it is improving. Handanovic has had an Indian summer of late, putting in some fantastic performances and producing some incredible saves.

His lack of ability with the ball at his feet however, creates issues and the defenders often have to come too deep to collect the ball.

Inter's build-up play starts in a pressure situation, meaning the midfield drop creates distance between them and the strikers.

There are also some problems when they must press their opponents.

Conte changes how they do this depending on the team they play. In short, this can lead to Inter struggling against teams that are more fluid (like Atalanta) as it seems that many of the pressing systems almost depend on a type of man-marking.

Conte however, keeps adapting this, and so far, it seems to be paying off.

As Inter approach the end of the season, they will certainly be hoping that now, with a six-point lead on Milan and a 10-point lead over Juventus (who have a game in hand) they can see this through.

They certainly have the offensive power to do so but as the season goes on, they look better and better at the back.

This certainly was not the case early on in the campaign but as the weeks roll on they are starting to look like a fortress that cannot be breached.



Have your say...
I hear the noises of our enemies rumbling....
Inter Parma- no penalty called - 2 points
Atalanta Inter - Vidal missed a breakaway at 1-0 - 2 points
Sampdoria Inter - By the grace of God we didnt tie- 1 point
Milan Inter- We dominated them even with Kolarov and Dambrosio CB's - 1 point
This season would have been over if not for a few mistakes and a boat load of penalties for Milan.
We are dominant and will only continue to be because all teams in Italy are bankrupt and nobody can buy anything.
on the 20th March, 2021 at 7:23pm
@Vlad, It’s only an opinion, why bother so much? If you’re really a fan of paratici’s and pirlo’s work then believe me I sincerely hope that agnelli shares the same opinion as yours. Keep them both for the next 5 years by all means. I’m done arguing with you.

The coppa italia games were very even. Inter lost because of gift goals from penalty and bastoni. I can accept that. In the league game, inter beat juve 2-0 very convincingly. That’s a victory which might decide the scudetto.
on the 20th March, 2021 at 3:14pm
@Rian, Ridiculous is you mock Paratici's work which actually delivers trophies. Ridiculous is the novice coach you had mentioned knocked your pathetic team out of Coppa. That's fact and yours is just speculation of butthurt fan.
on the 20th March, 2021 at 6:33am
@Vlad, Oh so now we have to be an ex-director to comment on players? ridiculous.
Nah I never said I know better than paratici. On the contrary, I believe most of non-juve fans would love to see paratici staying for years to come. Keep the free agents on high salaries coming, don’t sell rabiot & ramsey, extend their contracts and give them a raise. Keep buying wingers & hire another ex-player rookie coach. Maybe Buffon next? lol haha

Juve is coming? Bring it on, we’re waiting on top of the table
on the 18th March, 2021 at 4:10pm
@Rian, "I doubt city want Rabiot, even if they do and Paratici doesn’t sell then joke on him."

Who are you? ex-football director? What makes you think you know better than Paratici? You're just nobody in this sport, you're just a butthurt fan of the loser team. LMAO

You know what? You should pray to God harder than ever so your pathetic team can finally win something. Juve the master of Serie A is coming, Don't choke this time!
on the 18th March, 2021 at 7:53am
@Inter: only a moron says something like this " except we didn’t lose - Real Madrid were the only team to beat us" If Inter got beat by Real Madrid isn't that consider losing ????????? finishing dead last in the CL group stage isn't that proof of how bad inter lost ????????? but then again, asking an Inter fan what winning something looks like after 9 and a half season of nothing, nil, squat, jack sheeee kinda pointless do you think ?
on the 17th March, 2021 at 5:15pm
@ Half a billion euros worth starting 11: Before you brag that Inter won this scudetto may i remind you that boast seems vaguely familiar - i heard that also on May 5th, 2002 when inter had the scudetto in their hands and blew it! Just remember, those that do not know their history are condemned to repeat it! Do i need to remind you what happened on May 5th, 2002 ? i can go in detail how inter blew a 2-1 lead and lost 4-2 to lazio if you would like ;) or we can talk CL....last place for Inda !
on the 17th March, 2021 at 5:10pm
@Milan Fan: No winder Inter are 411 million in debt without owning a stadium and spent the most of any team in serie a the last 5 years yet have nothing to show for the last 9 seasons! maybe you don't know it but when you buy a player for 45 mill and sell him for 18 mill you got ripped off ! If Juve give away Ramsey or Rabiot They don't lose a penny on the transfer fee. When you spend Gabi-one-gol+Kondogbia+Joao Mario= 115 million Euros in transfer fees, cr7 for 100 mill looks pretty good !
on the 17th March, 2021 at 4:48pm
The key is player management, avoiding injuries.

Eventually people only remember the champions not the loser. Juve have less CL trophies than Inter/Milan, even though they’ve been in the competition the most among italian teams.
CR7+Ramsey+Rabiot earn >50M/year in net wages. Include the tax then it will reach at least 100M/year. Free transfer often cost more in agent commission & sign-on fee, it’s never 0M.
I doubt city want rabiot, even if they do and paratici doesn’t sell then joke on him.
on the 17th March, 2021 at 12:40pm
The key? Getting knocked out of every competition so they can focus one game a week.
on the 17th March, 2021 at 11:31am
@Milan Fan, FYI, Juve are rebuilding their brand on Brittain and the USA. Ronaldo and Ramsey cost high but it's worth it because they attract ppl to watch Serie A. Rabiot has 6M wages/year, not 12M. Manchester City want him and Guardiola is a fan of him. Are you a liar?
on the 17th March, 2021 at 10:00am
@ Milan fan: you are spot on! Juve brags about how they get players for free, but they are blind to the fact that they are getting stuck with huge salaries for years. The market value of Juve's starting 11 based on Transfermarkt is 400m, 100 less then Inter's. And their yearly salaries are almost double than Inter's.

BTW, I really hope AC makes it to CL next year. Than you'll have the means to consistently challenge for scudetto in the years to come. Good luck!
on the 17th March, 2021 at 9:29am
I dont miss branca.
on the 17th March, 2021 at 1:08am
@branca - sorry missed your question. Without a doubt kdog gabigol j Mario. Why? None would even make inters bench now. At least they were sold easily, unlike rabiot and Ramsey on 12m a season nobody paying them that!!! They aren’t going anywhere hahahaha but yes I’d much rather my club take a chance on potential than overpaid duds.. and so you are aware, add Ronaldo to rabiot and Ramsey and you lose a lot more than 120m hahahaha should we compare recent transfers? Lukaku to morata??
on the 16th March, 2021 at 8:26pm
The Key To Inter's Success??

Milan haven't played with a full squad all year and it finally caught up with them.
on the 16th March, 2021 at 5:17pm
@Inter: rabiot + Ramsey = Free Transfer. Gabi-one-gol+Kondogbia+Joao Mario= 115 million Euros in transfer fees. Which would you rather have? care to pick? or just ignore the question because the answer is painful to admit ;)
on the 16th March, 2021 at 5:16pm
@ Branca: at the end of the season Inter will be:

1. The champion of Italy
2. The last Italian team to have won the Champions league

You can repeat 10 more times how we didn't pass the CL group, it will not do a thing to my ecstatic mood :)
on the 16th March, 2021 at 3:08pm
@branca - except we didn’t lose - Real Madrid were the only team to beat us. While disappointed, thr scudetto more than makes up for it. And both kdog n gabigol were sold for decent amounts, but I can tell you that Ronaldo alone will be a bigger loss than all 3!! 1.5m every week for Ronaldo rabiot and Ramsey hahahah wow makes kdog and gabigol seem like great buys!! In fact you could prob buy them both, will prob offer them 1m a week wages too hahaha
on the 16th March, 2021 at 6:45am
Marco Branca must have been given the dodgy Astra Zeneca vaccine it seems. LOL. Get a grip man
on the 15th March, 2021 at 9:41pm
@Half a billion euros worth starting 11: last I recall, the very worst result one can achieve in the Champion's League is to finish last in the group stage...... i don't recall the last time Juve did that BUT I know you can recall the last time Inter did that in the CL Group stage since it just recently Happened !!! Don't worry, you already own the record as the only Italian to never get pass the CL group stage 3 years in a row - nobody will ever touch that record so don't try to extend it !!
on the 15th March, 2021 at 4:48pm
@ Inter: Where you lose by inches or Miles, A LOSS IS A LOSS ! And in case you don't know math, rabiot + Ramsey = Free Transfer. Gabi-one-gol+Kondogbia+Joao Mario= 115 million Euros in transfer fees. Which would you rather have? care to pick? PS: do top Italian squads set the record for the only Italian team to never make it past the Champion's League Group stage 3 years in a row? you tell me....
on the 15th March, 2021 at 4:44pm
@Marco Branca: Juventus fan bringing up CL success? Really? Juventus is the biggest underachiever in whole Europe at this competition! You made the best player in CL history, Ronaldo, lose to Ajax, Lyon and Porto 3 years in a row. Juve has cost him the GOAT status, all he needed was another CL trophy. You are congratulating us for winning the scudetto with 11 games to go, we have most points in Europe since November 17-2-1 record in the last 20 games, I'd take this kind of season any year!!
on the 15th March, 2021 at 12:39pm
@I miss Luciano Moggi - You're spot on. I recall last year when Inter were eliminated from CL and the team was struggling defensively, most comments from Inter fans were calling for Allegri or Pochettino to be brought in and Conte to be sacked even if he wins the league. How about FI? Has anyone else noticed the rate of Inter related articles has dropped since Inter went top?
on the 15th March, 2021 at 10:12am
Conte whines and moans, but when he rolls up sleeves and works, he succeeds. Team only going up. Those who complain about plan b - this is contes system it works, he doesn’t need to make radical changes. Reading a ton about how inter has benefited from
No CL, yet it’s only first round of knock outs, with league games midweek wev still been playing a lot. The best advantage of not playing CL is still to come I think..
on the 14th March, 2021 at 11:11pm
So are Inter fans not calling for Conte to be sacked now? He is the hero now, but a few negative results and it will be 'donkey Conte' again like in December. The worst thing a club can do is keep changing coaches.
on the 14th March, 2021 at 10:00pm
@Paratici, " i hope paratici sign new contract and rubentus slump to 20 years without trophy..."

Who are you? An idiot? Paratici has been Juve's board for 11 years and contributing a lot for Juve's historical trophy-laden. Juve slump to 20 yrs without trophy? You wish! Because loser can only wish. Lol
on the 14th March, 2021 at 6:12pm
@marcobranca i get it, fabio paratici is the best rubentus director, bough trade pjanic for arthur then sack sarri. bough ronaldo then win 0 ucl. sack allegri who done great job, and bring pirlo for sarri. everyone know how sarri dont have player to play his style yet they sack sarri for winning league with compromising his style of play. really the best director to destroy rubentus. i hope paratici sign new contract and rubentus slump to 20 years without trophy
on the 14th March, 2021 at 4:12am
The early CL elimination proved a blessing in disguise, as Inter players needed more time to adapt and clearly have done so. Inter now have a solid foundation that arguably was worth the short-term sacrifice.
on the 14th March, 2021 at 12:37am
Also @branca every time you rip on inter we fix it, talked about the players we bought, they were sold for profit, talked about not winning cL game then we won, now talking about not making knock outs - possibly winning the comp next year??? Haha thank you. Sound like a secret inter fan. Although the way juve going, don’t blame you!!!
on the 13th March, 2021 at 11:24pm
The other exciting bit is the youth. Inter are of both the main league and primavera. Their best youth is on loan, pirola and Esposito will br huge next season for us. A little worried about the ownership situation. The Saudi group are apparently the most likely now with bc partners dropping out. Happy with our development don’t want owners coming in spending millions unnecessarily like city or psg. Someone like mbappe would be huge for serie a though.
on the 13th March, 2021 at 11:22pm

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