Internazionale

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Season Guide
2020/2021

Internazionale

In


Achraf Hakimi (mid)(Borussia Dortmund); Alexis Sanchez (att)(Manchester United); Radja Nainggolan (mid)(Cagliari, end of loan); Ivan Perisic (att)(Bayern Munich, end of loan); Joao Mario (mid)(Lokomotiv Moscow, end of loan); Georgios Vagiannidis (def)(free agent); Dalbert (def)(Fiorentina, end of loan); Darian Males (att)(FC Luzern); Ionut Radu (gk)(Parma, end of loan); Aleksandr Kolarov (def)(Roma); Nicolò Barella (mid)(Cagliari, loan made permanent); Stefano Sensi (mid)(Sassuolo, loan made permanent)

Out


Victor Moses (sp)(mid)(Chelsea, end of loan); Cristiano Biraghi (sp)(def)(Fiorentina, end of loan); Borja Valero (sp)(mid)(released); Tommaso Berni (gk)(released)

Was the past season really a success for Inter? After all, in Serie A they finished second for the first time in a decade, just 1 point off champions Juventus, and they even lost the Europa League final to much-decorated Sevilla. Listening to coach Conte’s continuous complaints, though, it should have looked more like a failure, just an array of what-ifs. What if they had invested more, what if they had invested better. After some discussions and changes of mind, from both parties involved, Conte decided to stay on with the club in order to build on the good done in the past season, while being reassured that money would be spent to meet his demands. First of all, Inter invested big money on turning Barella’s and Sensi’s loans into permanent deals. Then, they further bolstered the midfield with right midfield Hakimi, coming from Borussia Dortmund. Nainggolan is back at the club after being loaned to Cagliari and it remains to be seen whether he stays or not. If not, a like for like versatile midfielder will have to arrive. Otherwise, he would represent a great return. Kolarov arrived from Roma and it remains to be seen whether he will be acting as a centre-back, as in his last games for the Wolves, or on the left flank. With Moses and Biraghi gone, a left-back is much needed at the moment as Dalbert, back from Fiorentina, does not seem to be a first choice. And one more defender also has to be signed, since Godin will be let go after a forgettable campaign. Sanchez was also signed permanently after doing well in the final part of the past campaign but one more attacker might be needed, especially if Martinez is lured by bigger clubs abroad. Eriksen, perhaps the symbol of the past campaign in terms of under-achievement, could be let go, thus making it clear that Conte prefers a more solid 3-5-2 formation to a 3-4-1-2.

Target


With Juventus still a huge question mark, Inter have an obligation to fight for the Scudetto. Anything less than the title could turn out to be a failure, especially if Conte sees all his demands in terms of players met by the management.

Season Review
2019/2020

№2: Internazionale

Antonio Conte is a manager who has achieved instant success everywhere he's been but his first term at Inter Milan was a season of near misses. Inter finished on 82 points, their best tally in a decade and just 1 behind champions Juventus in the final table, but the standings are slightly misleading. The Nerazzurri were never serious contenders for the title when the season reached the business end and only Juventus taking their foot off the gas after clinching the Scudetto led to the closeness in final points totals. Nevertheless it was a 13 point improvement from last season and thus definitely can be seen as progress but Conte has become a victim of his own previous success. Having won league titles in his first seasons at Juventus and Chelsea, he was expected to come in and challenge his former club straight away. Indeed in the initial weeks of the season, it looked as though that might be the case. Inter won their first 6 league games in a row, including victories over Lazio and bitter rivals AC Milan but they failed the first acid test. Juve came to the San Siro and flexed their championship muscle by giving the Nerazzurri a bit of a lesson despite the relatively close 2-1 scoreline. Inter still managed to go unbeaten in their next 16 league games (W10 D6) after the Juve loss but that run was littered with needlessly dropped points. They drew 3 games in a row at the start of the year and often lost points from winning positions due to a failure in putting teams to the sword. Inter would often go in front and then sit back waiting for the other team to make a mistake. It is a typical trait of Conte's tactics but it backfired on more than one occasion. Back-to-back defeats against title rivals Lazio and Juventus virtually ended Inter's realistic hopes of lifting the Scudetto just before the Coronavirus pandemic struck. When football returned the Nerazzurri lost just 1 of their remaining 12 Serie A matches (W8 D3), a solid run which saw them pip Atalanta to 2nd place on the final day. Inter's biggest disappointment came in the Champions League, a competition that Conte has struggled in throughout his career. They were in a tough group with Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund but they only scraped a draw at home to Slavia Prague in their first game which would cost them in the end. Their issue of surrendering leads also reared its ugly head as they lost after being 1-0 ahead at Barca and 2-0 in front in Dortmund. The Nerazzurri dropped down into the Europa League and found solace there. Inter beat Ludogorets comfortably over two legs before the COVID lockdown which forced UEFA to scrap second legs. Inter then got past Getafe, Bayer Leverkusen and Shakhtar Donetsk in one-off games to reach the final. Ultimately it ended in heartbreak for Conte's men as Romelu Lukaku's own-goal condemned them to a 3-2 defeat. It's extremely unfortunate that after scoring 34 goals across all competitions, Lukaku's final one would be at the wrong end and the most costly. It shouldn't overshadow an incredible debut season from the big striker who scored as many goals as his Brazilian hero Ronaldo did for Inter in his first season. He formed one of the most potent strike forces in Europe with Lautaro Martinez who was also outstanding and bagged 21 goals. Conte will be hoping to keep the partnership together for next season. Inter had the best defence in Italy. Stefan de Vrij was a rock at the heart of it and also contributed at the other end with an impressive 4 goals and 5 assists. Ageing wide players Ashley Young and Antonio Candreva were rejuvenated under Conte as was Alexis Sanchez who arrived on loan and started to look more like the player he once was after a nightmare stint in Manchester. Marcelo Brozovic patrolled the midfield expertly and Nicola Barella grew in stature over the course of his debut season. It is a very talented squad that Conte has at his disposal but this is a man who has always demanded more. His very public outcries for more backing from the club have caused controversy and it remains to be seen if the hierarchy will respond favourably in the transfer window. If not, he has shown in the past that he is willing to walk away. It's a big upcoming month for Inter and their future ambitions.


Player of the Season: Romelu Lukaku

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