Wednesday July 17 2013
Inter-esting times ahead

Inter endured a season to forget in 2012-13 and will be aiming to improve under the guidance of Walter Mazzarri and with their exciting talents. Luca Cetta writes.

A ninth placed finish and no European football wasn’t what the Nerazzurri doctor ordered. Inter’s lacklustre season and subsequent decision to sack Andrea Stramaccioni means they start again. They are preparing for a voyage into the unknown at Alpine resort Pinzolo, with questions – and perhaps a quiet degree of optimism – surrounding their playing stocks and new Coach Walter Mazzarri.

As per the last few transfer campaigns, Inter are looking long-term while departing from the high-earners. Gone are Antonio Cassano and Dejan Stankovic, while Walter Gargano returns to Napoli. Although intriguingly the Beneamata also parted with two budding talents in Giulio Donati and Luca Caldirola, who move to German pair Bayer Leverkusen and Werder Bremen respectively.

Inter’s two major summer signings confirm the renewal process. Mauro Icardi was the subject of interest from a number of clubs following his breakthrough at Sampdoria. Only 20, the Argentine ended last term with 10 goals, enough to convince the Nerazzurri into a co-ownership agreement.

Despite just 31 Serie A games under his belt, Icardi is not overawed.“Mazzarri promised me I’ll be important for Inter and I hope that I don’t let him down. Taking on the No 9 is an important challenge at a side like Inter, but I am not afraid. I want to score many goals and help fight for the Scudetto.”

Another attacking acquisition is Ishak Belfodil, also on a co-ownership basis, from Parma. He’s only scored eight goals in his career, but all came at the Stadio Ennio Tardini last term. The signings do raise the question of what to immediately expect from the pair, but aiding their development will be experienced pair Diego Milito and Rodrigo Palacio. Ruben Botta will have to wait a little longer to debut following a serious knee injury in March, but the 23-year-old former Tigre man comes with a reputation for being a highly skilled attacking player.

The Mazzarri impact will be something to keenly gauge. The tactician felt his cycle at Napoli – he twice led the club to the Champions League, plus their first trophy since 1990 – was over. Known for his high discipline and affinity for a defensive trio, his immediate concern is to gel the system and squad.

It may not suit somebody like Andrea Ranocchia, but does the engines of likely wingbacks Yuto Nagatomo and Jonathan. Assisting Mazzarri in making the transition smoother is another new face, Hugo Campagnaro. The Argentine has been led by Mazzarri since 2007 at Sampdoria. “I know Mazzarri perfectly by now, as this is my seventh pre-season training camp with him,” said Campagnaro at his Press Conference. “I must try to help the others who have never had to assimilate those details before, as they are crucial.”

On Sunday he further commented on Mazzarri’s pre-season programme. “We are doing all we can on strength and tactics. Mazzarri has got results with a three-man defence for a long time, so I hope we continue with it.”

The tactician’s early work has impressed the squad. Fredy Guarin, Belfodil and Samir Handanovic offered words of praise. The Colombian believes results will come with Mazzarri at the helm: “We need to make the most of the fact we’re lucky enough to work with him, and if we all do so, results will no doubt follow.”

Mazzarri is not immediately targeting the Scudetto, but hopes for patience. “A fan asked me to win the Scudetto and I said ‘give me time and I’ll get there.’ I want to be a point of reference and do things seriously, not someone who spins a line.”

They may have finished ninth, but there’s talent in the squad. Handanovic was superb last season. Guarin impressed in a variety of midfield positions. Meanwhile, youngster Mateo Kovacic integrated seamlessly into the team. The No 10 is still a teenager but has already displayed his burgeoning ability.

So what can Inter realistically target this term? For President Massimo Moratti and the supporters, European qualification will be a sign of progression. Handanovic stresses that no continental football this season could prove a blessing in disguise as they aim to improve. Reaching the Champions League would confirm that. Inter are not finished on the transfer front, with Hernanes and Mauricio Isla further targets. Fans will be hoping they can add to the squad so as to give Mazzarri the best possible chance of taking Inter back to Europe.

Keep up to date with the latest news and action from Spain's Primera Division with Football Espana - from the team behind Football Italia.

Have your say...
If Inter's games last year against Juve, Milan and Fiorentina can be called "disposing" then maybe you need to redefine the term as all three finished miles ahead of Inter. A title is not won by winning one-off requires consistency across an entire season. You can't just raise your game against bigger clubs if next week, you go and lose to Catania (no disrespect to Catania fans!). If that was the case, the scudetto belongs to Samp for beating Juve twice!
Ma va...!
on the 17th July, 2013 at 3:25pm
DEFENSE=CHAMPIONSHIPS. Best Defense=Juve came 1st, 2nd best defense Napoli came 2nd, 3rd best defense Milan 3rd, you get the picture right! How do you expect to win anyhting with CB's like Chivu-Samuel-Campagnaro-Ranocchia-Andreolli - they guys are SLOW!! a fast team like Juve or Fiorentina are going to plow right through these guys......and Moratti in all his brilliance loans out 2 of italy's potentially best defenders in years. Great job inter - keep the scrap iron and loan out the gold jewels
on the 17th July, 2013 at 3:09pm
Shame that players like Icardi and Belfodil have joined as they could of improved in another team. Inter usually ruin young players or sell them on. Also hardly any Italians in the team, which i personally think is awful. Will never forget a few years back when they had no Italians even on the bench for some games. I'm not sure about president Moratti either. I laughed so hard when they took on Benitez a few seasons back, it could only end in tragedy. Inter are bad for Italian football.
on the 17th July, 2013 at 3:01pm
It's funny because this same Inter last year, before the slew of injuries & after, disposed of Juventus, Milan, & Fiorentina. Now they have overcome injuries, reinforced certain positions, and have a better coach. Can't see them doing worse, and with no European mid-week games, Inter will take advantage and finish top 4 at least. Look what no CL did for Juve...
on the 17th July, 2013 at 2:44pm
Inter have no chance of making the top 3 next year
on the 17th July, 2013 at 1:57pm
Inter will have a bad season. Mazzarri will not have a Cavani and Hamisk to rely on this time around and the team is inferior to at least 4, possibly 5, other teams. Others have reinforced massively and despite European commitments, will still dispose of this Inter team. A Europa League finish will be a good result.
on the 17th July, 2013 at 1:11pm
Forza Inter
on the 17th July, 2013 at 12:26pm
I don't think it's looking bright.For washed up players like Cambiasso,Samuel,Milito and Zanetti,Mazzari's strict and tiring training routines will only ensure these players get sidelined the more.And looking at other teams like Juve,Napoli,Fiorentina,Milan and even Roma who are all strengthening is only gonna jeopardize Inter's chances of making it to Europe next year.At Napoli Mazzari had the kind of players that adhere to tactics,am afraid Inter don't have such.Hernanes?Lazio have made it clear they won't sell and even if they were to sell,it would surely be to PSG.Isla?Oh well at least he's better than Jonathan.All in all,they'll need a miracle to bounce back
on the 17th July, 2013 at 11:26am
Inter can target the 7th or 6th spots. That's where they're gonna end up actually.
on the 17th July, 2013 at 11:25am
As an Inter fan, I'm really looking forward to the next season. Ok, so we're not in Europe but unless it's the Champion's League who's really that bothered?! The Europa League is too drawn out and would just be a distraction. We look to have made some promising signings and, while I was sorry to see Strama get the boot, I think Mazzarri is the right man to get this club back on track. Forza Inter.
on the 17th July, 2013 at 11:23am
great article!

inter will be back this year
on the 17th July, 2013 at 10:52am

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