It was the sort of situation harking back to the days of mid-1990s madness. Roberto Mancini had led Inter back to European competition – and had the Nerazzurri top of Serie A for a number of weeks – but instead of continuing the charge this term he abruptly left weeks before the start of the new campaign.
Enter Dutchman Frank de Boer. But with so few days to prepare in a new league it’s little wonder Inter went into the international break with a solitary point to their name. A loss away to Chievo was followed by a come-from-behind draw against Palermo.
Inter were aggressive on the transfer market last season in their bid to return to prominence. That strategy was amplified this term thanks to investment from the new owners, the Chinese-led Suning Group. Ever Banega was signed on a free transfer from Sevilla, but they spent big on Antonio Candreva, Gabigol and Joao Mario. The summer signings add to a squad which, on paper at least, should be challenging strongly for a Champions League position.
They are already five points behind Juventus and three adrift of both Roma and Napoli. But what de Boer needs, according to former President Massimo Moratti, is time. “He must be given at least another month before we can pass judgment on his work.”
That judgment will swing in his favour if Inter are to get off and running. They peppered Palermo and then went behind to a sucker-punch. It’s the sort of error which must be cut out.
Up next is Pescara. The newly promoted club in theory should not pose much of a problem. But the Abruzzese outfit has already welcomed Napoli to the Stadio Adriatico and claimed a point. The opening round match ended 2-2, only after Napoli fought back from two down. Pescara sit fourth on four points, although their position is somewhat deceptive. Sassuolo defeated the Delfini in Round 2, but fielded an ineligible player which meant the result was reversed. Still, Massimo Oddo’s team showed against Napoli they are not afraid of big names.
But a win is important for de Boer. It will help get an early monkey off his back, even if he knows the situation he walked into was not easy. It was always going to take time. De Boer has had the opportunity to work with the squad this week and may introduce some new signings into the team as early as this weekend. One where Inter hope to kick-start their season.