Familiar foe Mazzarri will not make life easy for Spalletti’s Inter


Walter Mazzarri came in for plenty of criticism throughout his spell in charge of Inter between May 2013 and November 2014, with many of the club’s supporters expressing their dissatisfaction with what they perceived as defensive tactics. He had been brought in by then president Massimo Moratti as a safe pair of hands, following the failed experiment of entrusting rookie coach Andrea Stramaccioni with the task of managing an underperforming group of players.

The 56-year-old came in for some heavy criticism from fans and journalists alike due to his apparent reluctance to deviate from his preferred 3-5-2 formation, despite the fact that many of his players clearly were not comfortable within said system. Bearing in mind how stubborn a tactician the San Vincenzo native is, Luciano Spalletti will have a very good idea of how his Torino side will play when the two sides meet tomorrow night.

Crucially, having recruited no less than seven new players during this summer’s transfer window, Mazzarri now has players at his disposal whom he believes are capable of making a success of his tried and tested set-up. Deadline day arrivals Roberto Soriano and Simone Zaza will surely be of particular importance, given that they both possess a lot of previous experience in Serie A. Brought in on initial loan deals from Villarreal and Valencia respectively, the Italian duo will be expected to provide support for captain Andrea Belotti in the attacking third of the pitch.

The bottom line is that tomorrow night’s match is likely to be decided by who wins the midfield battle. Indeed, it was not unusual to see Inter line-up with four central midfielders when Mazzarri was in charge. Therefore, it would come as no surprise to see him opt to pack that area of the field when he takes on his former employers. Regardless of what he may or may not have said in the build-up to this particular encounter, only a fool would believe that he does not have a point to prove whenever he returns to San Siro.

Meanwhile, Spalletti has no choice but to adapt following last weekend’s disappointing result against Sassuolo. Roberto De Zerbi’s side outnumbered La Beneamata in the midfield area during the early stages and that, ultimately, is what led to their downfall. Deploying an extra midfielder alongside Marcelo Brozović and Matías Vecino is an option worth considering, thus allowing Lautaro Martínez to thrive in a wide position as he did at Racing Club.

Of course, only time will tell whether the former Udinese and Roma boss decides to improve upon last week’s performance with similar personnel. Mazzarri will certainly pose some very difficult questions for him and his players to answer. Following on from the huge disappointment in Emilia-Romagna, they have no choice but to do so in front of an expectant home crowd of more than 60,000 spectators.

According to the latest reports from La Gazzetta dello Sport, this is how Inter will line-up against their Torinese opponents:

Samir Handanović; Šime Vrsaljko, Stefan de Vrij, Milan Škriniar, Kwadwo Asamoah; Matías Vecino, Marcelo Brozović; Matteo Politano, Lautaro Martínez, Ivan Perišić; Mauro Icardi.

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