Very few would have been surprised to hear Inter’s players being greeted by a chorus of jeers upon the blowing of the final whistle yesterday afternoon. After all, that is exactly what their performance against newly-promoted Parma merited. It was insipid, lacking in spirit and completely devoid of quality in the final third of the pitch. Yes, Luciano Spalletti’s players enjoyed plenty of possession, but the bottom line is that they looked as if they had absolutely no idea what to do with the ball at their feet.
Worryingly, the Nerazzurri have now taken just four points from their first four league matches of the league season. For a side that was supposed to compete with the likes of Juventus and Napoli for the Scudetto, that is quite simply unacceptable. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to suggest that their quest to secure a first title since 2010 is over before it even began. As far as the club is concerned, Spalletti’s failure to build on what was hailed as their most successful transfer window since 2009 is nothing short of embarrassing.
Despite the fact that La Beneamata dominated possession (73%) and had 28 shots on goal, it is extremely difficult to make a case arguing that Spalletti’s side deserved something from the game. Yes, they could and perhaps should have been awarded a penalty after the ball appeared to strike Federico Dimarco on the arm. Blaming that for their failure to gain at least a point serves to do nothing but paper over the cracks which exist in the team’s tactical identity.
Truth be told, the players looked confused with regard to what they were being asked to do throughout yesterday’s match. On the contrary, Roberto D’Aversa’s team epitomised discipline and carried out their game plan to perfection. As the coach intimated during his post-match press conference, the Crociati were more than happy to allow Inter players time on the ball and task them with finding a route to goal. Ultimately, they were unable to do so and that is something that the Stuttgart native deserves a significant amount of credit for.
Midfield duo Roberto Gagliardini and Marcelo Brozović were unable to influence the match in the way the home crowd would have expected. In fact, Brozović endured a particularly difficult 90 minutes of football and looked considerably out of his depth at times. There is no doubt that he must improve considerably ahead of Tuesday night’s visit of Tottenham Hotspur, where he will come up against the likes of Eric Dier and Mousa Dembélé.
Bearing in mind the trials and tribulations of the past couple of seasons, such an uncertain start to the current campaign is the last thing Inter would have wanted. However, that is the hand they have been dealt and they must find a way in which to put things right. The fans expect results: in their eyes, there are no excuses and there is nowhere left to hide for Spalletti and his under-fire group of players.
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