Previously giants of the European game, both AC and Inter Milan have relinquished that revered status over recent seasons, with the Milanese duo struggling to compete to win honours either in Italy or on the continent.
Not since AC beat their fierce city rivals Inter 2-1 in the 2011 Supercoppa Italiana final has either side won a trophy, which represents a remarkable drought for two of the most successful clubs in European football.
Specifically whilst AC has won 48 titles worldwide, after winning the 2010-2011 Coppa Italia, Inter’s trophy haul has stagnated at 39.
Absence from recent editions of Champions League
Furthermore despite featuring regularly in the Europa League, Inter have not qualified for the Champions League since the 2011-2012 edition of European football’s elite club competition, which they won in 2010, as I Nerrazzuri’s have not finished better than 4th in any of the last five Serie A seasons.
Similarly after ending the 2012-2013 Serie A campaign in 3rd place to qualify for the following season’s Champions League, AC have failed to qualify to play in European competition for three successive years.
Montella’s managerial reign of AC starts disappointingly
Although last season Sinisa Mihajlovic led AC to the final of the Coppa Italia, I Rossoneri lost that game 1-0 to Juventus not under the Yugoslavian’s guidance but that of Christian Brocchi, who replaced the current Torino manager in April.
Subsequently Brocchi was replaced by Vicenzo Montella for the start of this season, with the 42-year-old’s managerial reign of Milan having commenced disappointingly.
After being unable to significantly strengthen their squad during the summer, with the club’s only signings being the quartet of Gustavo Gomez, Gianluca Lapadula, Jose Sosa and Leonel Vangioni, despite opening their Serie A campaign with a 3-2 home win over Torino, under Montella’s guidance Milan suffered defeat in their next two matches, away to Napoli – 4-2 – and at the San Siro against Udinese – 1-0.
Whilst producing a valiant performance against Napoli, Milan’s display against Udinese was extremely lacklustre, as Stipe Perica scored a late winning goal for Giuseppe Iachini’s side.
As a result of that, Milan currently occupy 15th place in Serie A, with their next league game being an extremely difficult away fixture against Sampdoria, whom Montella managed last season and left to join Milan. Furthermore the 20-times capped Italian internationalist also served the Genoese club as a player.
De Boer’s endure difficult start to life as manager of Inter
At present just as Montella is endeavouring to inspire an upturn in Milan’s recent declining fortunes, Frank De Boer has begun a similar assignment at Inter, after replacing Roberto Mancini as I Nerazzuri’s head coach just a fortnight prior to their first Serie A game of the Serie A season against Chievo Verona.
As such the 46-year old former Ajax manager had little time to introduce his ideas and tactics to Inter’s players. That was abundantly evident as they were comprehensively beaten 2-0 by Chievo, whereby Rolando Maran’s team were vastly superior to Inter, particularly in terms of fitness, which many members of De Boer’s team were distinctly lacking.
Despite delivering a marginally improved display in their next game, Inter were held to a 1-1 draw at the San Siro by Palermo, as captain Mauro Icardi scored a second half equaliser.
Subsequently the 23-year-old Argentinean striker played an influential role to help De Boer secure a maiden win as manager, since he scored two late goals as Inter recovered from a goal down to beat Pescara 2-1 on their last Serie A outing.
After joining I Nerazzuri for €45m from Sporting Lisbon, the Portuguese Euro 2016 winner Joao Mario made his debut against Pescara and an extremely positive impression upon Inter’s performance when doing so.
However De Boer made the decision to omit both the 23-year-old and fellow new signing Gabriel Barbosa from his Europa League squad, as a consequence of Inter currently experiencing difficulties in complying with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play guidelines.
Specifically they were fined by UEFA in May for breaking FFP rules and agreed to select a squad of only 21 rather than the normal 25, for the Europa League, with Gabriel and Mario two players who will not feature in Inter’s continental campaign, which started with disastrous 2-0 home defeat to Hapoel Be’er Sheva.
Despite naming a markedly different starting XI from the one which was successful against Pescara, whereby he made seven changes to his line-up, De Boer still fielded a relatively strong side to play the Israeli league champions. However with Icardi, who has scored all of Inter’s three goals so far this season, only appearing as a late second half substitute, Inter were largely devoid of an attacking threat throughout the game.
Therefore Inter, whose next Serie A game is against Juventus, forfeited an excellent opportunity to build upon beating Pescara by feebly succumbing to an aggressive and determined Hapoel Be’er Sheva side.
Milanese duo remain fallen giants
Furthermore that humbling Europa League loss at the San Siro marked the opening of a new chapter in the recent struggles of the formerly great Milanese duo, as both AC and Inter continue to toil in their efforts to detach themselves from the tag of ‘Fallen Giants’, with which they’ve been labelled due to their poor performances over recent seasons.
Montella and De Boer share a similar aspiration
As such at present the shared aspiration of Vincenzo Montella and Frank De Boer must be to spark a revival in the current fortunes of AC and Inter respectively, as the two managers aim to help their respective clubs return to former greatness.
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