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Hajduk 0 - Inter 3; Confidence?


This is my first attempt at a post on the revamped site, so if it’s still a little rough around the edges, my apologies. A couple of months ago some of you might remember that I talked about having a sense that if life at the site was going to change, this summer was the time it was going to happen. I didn’t know at the time how it was going to change but I have to say, not only am I happy that the site looks better, but more importantly it’s great to see all the nice people come back and hang out. So thanks everyone for coming back and continuing to be a part of this. And thanks to Johonna who engineered the transition behind the scenes while recovering – it couldn’t have been easy, to say the least. To me this place is already a huge upgrade over the old site. I can’t wait to use/read the FanPost sections – ahem Drewseph, Shinsengumi and many others.

Okay back to our regularly scheduled paranoia…

There is a lot of fear and confusion out there from the supporters of this team right now and really it comes down to confidence. How much confidence do we have that Strama can forge a team out of the vets who know the clock is ticking, the young guys who are new to the pressure of unreasonable expectation and new people who are a part of the team for the first time? How confident are we that Branca can bring in the level of recruit that the chronically unhappy supporters of this team can finally be happy about? How confident are we that Moratti can keep the team from drowning in red ink, adhere to the Byzantine restrictions of FFP and yet still engineer a wage scale that will entice/pay talented players?

How much confidence in these three elements of the team working together do you have?

Today I only want to look at the coaching aspect of this organization’s Triumvirate. This is a new era in the team, for good or for ill; there will never be a return to past glories. This team might win the Scudetto again. This team might win the Champions League again. But there will be different participants. It will be a new cast of heroes. Thiago Motta won’t ever be able to repay Biscuits for his peek - a – boo routine. Cordoba will never be able to return and pull another heroic one man defensive effort until tragically succumbing to a knee injury that ended our hopes of meeting Milan in the finals of the Champions League. Cesar won’t pull our asses out of the fire in England anymore, nor will he be there again to put them back amongst the burning coals in Germany.

Strama has a new cast of characters with which to act out his narrative. Does he inspire the confidence to start a new project with? The last project went through coaches like a meat grinder goes through lips and hooves but 2 notable names stayed with the club for impressive runs – such as Mancini and Mourinho. Does Strama have it in him to be a Mancini or a Mourinho? Or his he more Hodgson/ Lippi/Tardelli /Zaccheroni/Benitez/Ranieri/Gasparini (I am leaving Cuper out of this, he’s on the fence).

The problem is the extremely small sample size. Strama did impressive things last season but there was an element of tape n’ twine about it. Everyone knew that there was going to be an axe in the summer and everyone knew that there had to be a token push of effort and will at the end or the lot would have been lynched by the north end of the Meazza. Plus half the team was in a casket and the other half had a foot on a banana peel. In my opinion, last season is just not a fair period to use as a basis of analysis. There was too much chaos and too much uncertainty and there was no chance for people to be themselves. Everyone was too busy being in crisis mode or trying to be strong/a good teammate/not get canned.

But since then all we have are friendlies and one single meaningful game. It’s that one meaningful game I want to focus on here at the moment.

Inter looked good. And not compared to Hajduk which, with all due respect, is not on the level that Inter are used to playing at. But Inter looked good compared to last years early season version which is really my point here. Last seasons debacle started right out of the gate with a horrendous beginning that if I counted correctly had Inter winning only 7 games out of the first 17 games in all competitions – about half of those wins were against sub par Champions League group stage teams, remember.

So do I feel better about this team now than I did last season? Yeah, I do. Last week’s game showed an Inter that fully embraced a coaches ideas and looked driven. That alone would be a huge improvement on the open ceremonies of 2011/2012. But that there was more quality at work and a willingness/confidence of the coach to take risks and attack makes me grateful to see. I am looking forward to the next game – which I believe is Thursday – and that’s not something I would have said last week. I didn’t know what to expect last week, especially after what I thought was a poor showing at Como. Last week against Hajduk I thought Inter played to the level they were capable of playing at, not down to the level of their opponents, all due respect to Hajduk, that happened far too often last season.

I really liked the interplay between Sneijder, Coutinho, Palacio and Milito. Obviously these 4 players weren't on the field at the same time... and that's what really has me happy. Not only did we have quality on the field, but we had quality on the bench. And that quality obviously worked together in training enough to get a good understanding with each other, too. Scary to think how well they might play together in January if they all can stay on the field.

I think some time should be spared for an in shape and energized Guarin. He was immense in this game. What a piece of the puzzle to have. He would work well with either a deep passer or a pure defensive midfielder next to him. I really look forward to watching him play and seeing how Stramamama uses the space next to him to complement his workrate.

Also, I have a word about the defense. I was happy to see the clean sheet. In fact, if Silvestre – who wasn’t even supposed to be play due to a leg injury, remember Ranocchia was called away at the last minute – didn’t make an unfortunate mistake late in the game, Handanovic didn’t even really have to make a save. It was a good all around game and a definite up arrow in the progression chart.

Am I confident over Stramaccioni? I am clearly more confident of him than I was of Gasperini at this time last season. I think it’s obvious that Moratti has more faith in him since it looks like he has been busy elsewhere and not meddling.

So I think it’s safe to say that I am at least more confident than I was a season ago as far as the coaching goes…

Are you?