Wednesday March 24 2021
Fortunate Inter?

Andrea Pirlo tried to suggest Inter’s COVID outbreak happened in a ‘positive moment’ for the Nerazzurri, but Richard Hall explains why that was not the case.

It is perhaps a testament to the power and status of Juventus that this weekend’s reaction proved so shocking.

The result against Benevento did not raise eyebrows. It shook the foundations of what a generation of fans believes. The Old Lady is losing her grip on domestic dominance.

Andrea Pirlo was heavily criticised and in his pre-match interview, he had tried to suggest that his rivals Inter had been lucky due to an outbreak of Covid-19. But is this the case?

La Gazzetta dello Sport reported last week that Inter were unimpressed with remarks made by the Juventus coach. He suggested that the Nerazzurri’s COVID-19 outbreak happened at the right moment for them.

“It happens during a positive moment for Inter, who will also be able to keep hold of their players rather than send them on international duty. In that sense, they were fortunate,” he claimed.

Antonio Conte has seen his side forced into self-isolation, a measure that saw the match against Sassuolo postponed. Juventus had the chance to claw back the gap but remarkably lost to lowly Benevento, causing much an explosive reaction amongst Serie A fans. 

Surely, Inter would have instead played this game against the Neroverdi as it now moves this into what they see as a crowded fixture list in April. Was this fortunate?

Just how little this has affected Inter has now been seen as the teams move into the international break. Last week it did seem worse as the local health authority had banned any Nerazzurri player from travelling abroad so that they would not risk spreading the disease.

This then changed in the past days as the swab tests for the rest of the team came back negative, allowing the non-internationals to train.

The players called up could travel. In particular, Romelu Lukaku, Christian Eriksen, Marcelo Brozovic, Ivan Perisic and Milan Skriniar travelled abroad and will play some part in the fixtures.

The question is: is there too much hype around fixture congestion? For instance, when teams claimed that Inter going out of Europe made a huge difference to the title race, did it?

Juventus played three more games because of this, and if you allow travelling around this, then that is approximately nine days off the training field.

Inter could not train during this weekend, so maybe they are slightly more rested but is that even a good thing when momentum is needed at this part of the campaign? Sassuolo, apart from a couple of seven-goal hammerings, is a tricky fixture for Inter and it would have been better if it had been played, also because they had took the pitch three days before against Torino.

This is not just a slant on Pirlo’s comments. It questioning the fuss made by the Italian media as a whole.

Inter have five games in April and five games in May, with the Sassuolo fixture added to make it 11.

Juventus have six games in April and five in May and the Coppa against Atalanta adds on one in that month. Milan, in turn, have five in each of the two remaining months but have they a considerable advantage with this?

Perhaps the answer is that no team is lucky or unlucky from having an outbreak of COVID-19. No team benefits from crashing out of Europe or the Coppa Italia and the Italian media’s fixation with this is unhealthy.

Inter, Milan and Juventus want to be elite clubs and should therefore have elite squads that are good enough to sustain any eventuality. Look at Inter’s treble winners, look at Bayern Munich, Real Madrid or any of the teams that have dominated for any length of time, albeit a season or a decade.

Perhaps the most bizarre thing about mind games like this is that we live in a world that is turned on its head by a pandemic.

There are so many parameters affecting football right now, including the fact that players are constantly out due to COVID.

These are constant issues and they are no surprise, so perhaps the coaches and the media should just accept this.



Have your say...
@I MISS MARCO BRANCO .. And you’re absolutely right, my standards for Juventus are very high, at the level of winning the Serie B title. That’s certainly one of Juventus’ great achievements that Inter hasn’t done. I’m sure with Pirlo, Juventus will be chasing those high levels of Serie B once again. What a way for Ronald to end his illustrious career!
on the 28th March, 2021 at 10:21pm
@I MISS MARCO BRANCO Well Inter will just have to do with winning the Scudetto as a consolation prize. Fingers crossed maybe Juventus can win the Coppa Italia to wipe away the stench of utter failure this season.
on the 28th March, 2021 at 9:48pm
@Anonymous: I am glad your standards for Juventus are so high because my standards for Inter are very low YET they still cannot meet them !! How much lower than I go, last last place in the Champions League group stage? come April 13 Inter celebrates the 10 year anniversary of the last time Inter played a round of 16 match in Champion's League !! What a fantastic milestone ;)
on the 26th March, 2021 at 6:20pm
@I MISS MARCO BRANCA .. and come May 22nd, Juventus celebrates the Silver jubilee (25 year anniversary) of the last time they won a Champions League final. That's a huge milestone. Does anyone know how many players in Juventus' current squad hadn't been born on that day?
on the 26th March, 2021 at 12:44pm
It's really fun to see juventini's murmurings lol

Some juventini hv illusion about their team had won an UCL in the last decade......

The truth is, FIAT has no money for corruption after Wuhan Pneumonia (DON'T call it COVID-19, thx).
on the 26th March, 2021 at 7:08am
@BlackandBlue: you can't argue the truth - also, come April 13 Inter celebrates the 10 year anniversary of the last time Inter played a round of 16 match in Champion's League !! What a fantastic milestone ;)
on the 25th March, 2021 at 8:16pm
Unavailable players - How about handanovic at a crucial part of last season and Inter's results suffering for 2 months due to the lack of a proper sub - Inter eventually losing the league by very little, or Skrinder asking to be substituted in game at end of Jan 2020 because he felt unwell - possible C-19? Every club has unavailable players at times.
on the 25th March, 2021 at 6:10pm
@Anonymous Don’t worry the biggest Inter fan @I Miss Marco Branca at Inter was always there not missing a single post about Inter. He has even represented in some of Juve posts as well. Now he’ll get the chance to actually see Inter win the league after so many years.Lol
on the 25th March, 2021 at 4:25pm
It is nice to see some old faces again. Welcome back Inter fans. I haven't seen you for nearly 10 years!
on the 25th March, 2021 at 2:56pm
It is nice to see some old faces again. Welcome back Inter fans. I haven't seen you for nearly 10 years!
on the 25th March, 2021 at 2:55pm
It is nice to see some old faces again. Welcome back Inter fans. I haven't seen you for nearly 10 years!
on the 25th March, 2021 at 2:54pm
The comments here are hilarious!!!! “Juve and Milan fans are making excuses... suck it up” followed by “Juve only won all these years because Inter and Milan were weak” HAHAHAHA. Yes I forgot Juve sent Inter and Milan to serie B and then they both needed to build their own stadium to get extra revenues lol. Yeah Inter is so strong now, I felt sorry for Shaktar and Gladbach when Inter pummeled them. The fact is Juve is weak now and you’re benefiting you geniuses lol. That’s just how things go
on the 25th March, 2021 at 1:19pm
Umm.. Did everyone forget when Inter had a bunch of key players out with covid earlier in the season ahead of the milan derby? Now everyone is complaining when we have 4 more? come on guys, injuries(and now covid) is part of the game, STOP WHINING!
on the 25th March, 2021 at 11:39am

"It does not really matter if we perceive there to be an advantage or not. The teams are not being treated equally and that is the point. Surely the same rules should apply to all?"

Once again Juvefans living in another world. Juve-Napoli was supposed to be played 1 week ago. No covid cases from either team, but they just decided to move the match to a later date.

No other teams in the league can do that. We dont care tho, Inter will win the scudetto anyway.

Forza Bernardeschi
on the 25th March, 2021 at 11:19am
Inter have simply been the best team in the league, they have the best starting 11 and a good manager who has experience in winning titles even if he does love to moan and rub people up the wrong way.

I said at the time when Juve appointed Pirlo. You can have the best ideas in the world but if you can't transmit them to the players you'll never be a good coach. He's not passionate enough and stands on the touchline with his hands in his pocket. Look at Pep and Klopp, you need that energy.
on the 25th March, 2021 at 10:11am
Richard is of course right. It is hard to see much of an advantage. I suspect the point Pirlo is alluding to however is, Inter used their 'influence' to get this postponement just like Napoli managed to postpone a game(s) earlier in the season.

It does not really matter if we perceive there to be an advantage or not. The teams are not being treated equally and that is the point. Surely the same rules should apply to all?
on the 25th March, 2021 at 9:34am
Another awful piece of writing. take off your Inter shirt and try and be impartial.
on the 25th March, 2021 at 5:52am
Rube enjoyed their best period coz Inter and Milan were so weak. Any other team would have won 2 CL in 9 years with such domestic domination. Agnelli wants elite clubs to have Super league ; gets knocked out by Porto, Lyon, Ajax. CR7 tells Pepe he will win with Pepe on field; gets his  handed to him. Pirlo says we will put pressure on Inter ; gets whooped by Benevento. Rube is the biggest joke of a club and that's a fact. Now all u Gobbi should go dig their faces in a pillow and cry.
on the 25th March, 2021 at 3:32am
Why are people claiming inter are lucky just because they got more time to prepare or injuries. They outscored teams at the start of the season ahead of Atalanta and that was just after coming from the EL final unlike other teams. That final showed the importance of winning as Sevilla dragged the match out until they won. Now Conte is doing the same thing in most league matches.Inter are not Man city/Bayern but they can take the important 3 points. Excuses don't win the league points points do.
on the 24th March, 2021 at 10:57pm
Im surprised anyone understood what Pirlo was saying, with his low voice and mumble.

My fridge have more personality than him. Who cares?

Inter have won 20 of 27 Serie A Matches
6 wins in the last 11 should secure this well earned scudetto.

Now lets get Musso for the summer too. Im sure he will chose Inter over Milan, hes argentinian after all.

He will be a world class keeper. Life´s good at Inter.
on the 24th March, 2021 at 10:41pm
Give credit where credit is due.
Inter has outplayed and outcoached its opponents in Serie A, that is why they are on top and deserve to be. Pirlo needs to look in the mirror and accept his team and coaching shortcomings this year.There is no shame admitting another team has just played better. It is a hard fact to admit, particularly when your teams past has has a record of glorious success. Competition brings out the best in all teams and Juve needs to accept that finally competition is here.
on the 24th March, 2021 at 8:11pm
@Milan Fan: When Europe thinks of the italian team in Black and Blue in Champion's League they think Atalanta - i hardly call that fortunate ! what's fortunate is that they have not been docked 3 points for non-payment ! But they have also been unfortunate in that Suning has to sell because they got until the end of June to pay off 215 million to Lion Rock AND find some sucker to refinance inter's debt
on the 24th March, 2021 at 7:14pm
The guy complaining about games being postponed by Covid is just stupid. Does he even understand how viral diseases work? it doesn't matter if it's 1 or 4 people are infected. What matters is how many people were in close contact with the infected and the potential risk they carry. This isn't even the first time matches have been postponed. Claiming Serie A is rigged because health authorities are putting a hold on football is much worse than being a petty loser. Grow up will you?
on the 24th March, 2021 at 6:36pm
It's just loser excuses. Milan and Juve fans won't admit this but the fact is they have played the same amount of games as Inter up until 2 weeks ago. Inter have already pulled 4 points away way by the end of February. Milan had EL round of 16 while Inter had 2 coppa ties with Juve. Remember there was no European games between December until mid-February so Inter getting kicked out of CL didn't give any advantage.

The reality is Inter are just that much stronger and more consistent this year.
on the 24th March, 2021 at 6:30pm
There may be some deflection going on judging by the comments comin' out of the Juve camp atm. Inter may have been lucky, helped a bit or not but I don't think it'd have mattered too much. I'd prefer Milan to win it tbh but if Inter wins league over 38 games, then it means they deserve to win it & haven't the lega just let Juve/Napoli decide the date when they'll play? As unlikely as it is now, u can never rule Juve out so I'm sorry for Juve fans but I'm glad Benevento won. 9 in a row is enough!
on the 24th March, 2021 at 6:13pm
Injuries always happen. We always say "suck it up" and this is why you need a squad. Well for once, injuries haven't quite happened for Inter. For all you complainers, SUCK IT UP. It's not our fault we have survived this long without a major injury to one or more major players.
on the 24th March, 2021 at 5:08pm
Fortunate in that they went out of Europe early (if you can call that being fortunate) and avoiding injuries to key players all season to date, which wasn't the case for their rivals. Napoli, Juventus, Roma, Lazio and specially Milan had to deal with serious injury problems to key players all season. Maybe only Atalanta had it easier in that respect, but still worse than Inter.
on the 24th March, 2021 at 3:28pm
You have missed one key point here. 3 of the 4 players which were lost due to covid were key players for Inter. Who knows what the outcome would have been against Sassuolo with a weakened starting 11?

What really needs to happen to stop all these players dropping like flies with Covid is to Vaccinate them against the virus. At this stage with the availability and variety of vaccines out that I am shocked it hasnt happened across All major UEFA leagues already.
on the 24th March, 2021 at 1:21pm
Juve's league dominance was bound to end sooner or later. However, Conte's tactics in Europe brought even greater shame to the Seria A. Finishing last in CL is a disgrace and always crying to the refs. But again Conte is a failure in Europe! With their roster they should have been competing on all fronts. There is nothing special about a team as big as Inter playing once a week and winning the league. The goal of all Italian teams should be to do well in CL & WIN. The league needs to evolve.
on the 24th March, 2021 at 1:13pm
Deserve it. Milan came in as simply to make it into top four for championship league and incredibly led the table for over half the season and unfortunately due to many injuries to key players they started to fade away. But if milan were to win the scudetto that story would have been much more admirable. I don't know something about inter this year bothers me. It has to be Conte. Always flops in champions league and goes all out in league. Small coach mentality.
on the 24th March, 2021 at 1:09pm

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