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Inter 1 - 0 Atalanta, Match Report: Better late than never

In a rainy night in Milan the 2015/16 began for the Nerazzurri, and it was a good start as they snatched the three points thanks to a late goal by Stevan Jovetic.

Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images

He shouldn't have played, but he was the key man. Jovetic transformed a slightly disappointing tie into a deserved and somehow unexpected win with a lovely curling shot in the added time. While Jovetic was the one who allowed us to scream and cheer for the three points - and played well too - there are other players who deserve to be praised for their performances as well.

Top Performers

  • Kondogbia was a real bully in midfield. He was all over the place trying to steal the ball from the opposition by intercepting passes or tackling the players, showing great effort and determination, a thing that lacked in last season's squad. He tried to do one or two runs with the ball and he even shot on goal twice and, even if these moves are not in his repertoire yet, his attempts were not bad at all, causing some troubles to the opponent's keeper, Sportiello.
  • Murillo and Miranda were rock solid. Ok, ok, Atalanta are not known for being an aggressive and offensive minded team, but last season's defence would have struggled anyway. M&Ms instead were focused and prepared through the whole match, rejecting effectively the few attempts the other Nerazzurri presented them, even though they could count on two quick and technically gifted wingers like Moralez and Gomez. The only real threat Handanovic had to front came in the very beginning when Gomez found himself free in the middle of our area, but fortunately decided to shoot the ball high over the crossbar. It may be too soon to say it, but I'm pretty sure that the nightmares Ranocchia and centre-back Juan Jesus gave us are already a thing of the past.

It was a positive game for many reasons, but mostly because the newcomers played great and that's a good sign for Inter knowing that they brought in quality players after spending lots of cash this summer and they also had to let go two of their youngest and most talented prospects in order to balance the accounts. Not everyone performed as expected though, and it was a match that could have been easily won with a wider goal differential if everyone was at their best.

Not-so-top Performers

  • Mancini started Brozovic behind the strikers and to be honest, he failed a bit in this role. He always got the last pass wrong and lost the ball too many times trying to dribble past an opponent. In the second half Hernanes took over the disappointing Gnoukouri - he lost the ball that caused Atalanta's only attempt - and played as trequartista, sending back Brozo to his old role, where he played slightly better and seemed more confident in his abilities. He took a hard hit halfway through the second half and he was limping for most of the remaining time, but due to the fact that we haven't other options in midfield at the moment he had to finish the game nonetheless. Mancini defended his choice after the match, saying that for him Marcel was the man of the match. We don't believe you Mancio, but we understand your reasons.
  • Medel was given playmaking duties, and he was quite awful trying to do it. With Kovacic's departure someone needs to step up and be our key man in midfield to create for the others and to start the play, and now we know that Medel isn't that someone. He is a good defensive-midfielder, great at tackling opponents and destroying plays, but everything else is out of his range of abilities so it's counter-productive asking him to do it.

His fault, Mancini's fault, trainer's fault, who knows. Icardi was seen leaving the pre-game workout earlier because of a thigh problem, started the game nonetheless, but had to be replaced by JoJo just 14 minutes into the match. Fortunately for us it didn't affect the game too much, but now that we have at least one good option in the offensive department this type of things are unacceptable. Period.

It was vital for us to win this first match for many reasons, but mostly because Atalanta are mediocre team and we can't afford to lose points against bottom-half sides as we did last year if we aim to be one of the top 5 Serie A teams. The fact that Roma, Juve and Milan made false-steps in their first outings added some pressure on our players and on Mancio too. Speaking of Mancini, he looked really tired and red-eyed in his post match interview, like he hadn't slept in days. He was criticized a lot for lack of good performances last season and during the pre-season too, and that could have made him very nervous and anxious, with the hope of starting the season with a win to silence the "haters" at least for now.

We ran a lot in this game, but we looked fresher than our opponents, which finished the match with ten men after Carlos Carmona was sent off in the 71st minute. We have few and very confused ideas in the matter of the game, which was a big concern in the pre-season too. Maybe more playing time together and other late quality additions to the team could help us improve in that, hopefully before our first really challenging match against Milan in the third week - no offense to Carpi.

Inter still have a lot of work to do, but the premises are good and I'm confident that with the commitment of the whole team all the problems we had last year and all the little things which still need to be adjusted this season could be fixed quickly and easily, allowing us to get back to the top spots a club like Inter deserve.

On to the next one fellow Inter fans, and let's watch the beautiful goal by Stevan Jovetic one more time.