De Boer and his boys needed a win today to try to stop the #DeBoerOut rumors and to extend the winning streak they started midweek against Torino. The Dutch manager chose the same formation that earned the three points on Wednesday, except from Nagatomo who has been replaced for Santon.
The Nerazzurri didn't start the match playing at their best. Too many misplaced passes prevented the squad from keeping the ball and creating chances to threaten their opponents. Two times the Blucerchiati tried to score in the first thirteen minutes, with two similar plays. Quagliarella and Muriel both missed their chances with shots from the right and left corner of the Inter box, and both attempts finished their runs wide on the opposite side. There was just one shot on goal for Inter in the first fifteen by Candreva, who forced Puggioni to dive and save the ball.
Icardi tried to get more involved than usual in the buildup play but the lack of sharpness in midfield penalized him a little this time. Giampaolo instructed his men to put a lot of pressure on our only creative and proactive player, i.e. Banega, and a lot of times he had two opponents on his heels and was forced to pass the ball backwards instead of trying to start the offensive play.
Barreto almost gave Sampdoria the lead in the 29th minute, with an incredible flying shot after a corner kick that fortunately only hit the right post. Whew!
Inter had two close chances around the 40 minute mark. Brozovic made a really good play inside Sampdoria's box after receiving the ball from Ansaldi but his powerful shot was too high and hit the crossbar before going out. Then just two minutes later, Eder blew past Silvestre on the left flank and sent a sweet cross inside the area for Icardi who couldn't connect the goal from a very close range.
Obviously, when things started to get better for the Nerazzurri and Brozovic just missed a header from very close range, Sampdoria scored. Linetty's incorrect control luckily found Quagliarella all alone — and onside — who beat Handanovic with a precise shot in the bottom left corner. The Blucerchiati were very fortunate this time, but Inter's horrible defending helped them taking the lead in what have been a rather balanced match so far. This was the ninth time in eleven matches that Inter conceded the first goal to their opponents. Unacceptable.
This was not a very good first half for Inter. At all. There were too many misplaced passed by Joao Mario and Brozovic, who had increased responsibilities because of Sampdoria's strong pressure on the usual playmaker Ever Banega. Eder and Candreva were the most dangerous players for the Nerazzurri, which isn't an uncommon thing as de Boer always relies a lot on his wingers since arriving at Inter. I could sense a little nervousness among the players during this half but they looked more relaxed when they were getting back on the pitch. Candreva was trying to explain Brozovic what movement he had to make when they were attacking and the Croatian nodded and seemed to understand what his teammate was saying to him.
The first fifteen minutes of the second almost put me to sleep as both teams failed to create meaningful chances to score. Sampdoria tried to take advantage of Muriel's blazing speed and top-notch technique, while Inter tried to find Icardi inside the area with crosses from both sides but both teams were unable to succeed in their plans.
In the 67th minute Icardi wasted an incredible chance to level the match. Inter was finally able to keep the possession of the ball for four/five minutes straight when Ansaldi and Brozovic made a good one-two play, the Croatian crossed the ball towards Maurito who all alone headed it over the crossbar. Two minutes later Ansaldi and Miranda both picked up yellow cards to stop two promising plays for Sampdoria.
De Boer finally decided to make some changes to his squad in the 76th minute as he replaced both his wingers: Candreva left the pitch for Ivan Perisic, while Palacio took Eder's place. The two Italians were the two most positive players for Inter since that moment.
The Nerazzurri started to sense the urge of scoring as time passed but of the many crosses they tried to send inside the opponent's area none of them were precise enough to found a teammate. On the other hand Sampdoria tried to increase their lead with a counter-attack, but Budimir's attempt was easily saved by Samir Handanovic.
During the first of three minutes of added time, Palacio almost made it 1-1 after some confusing action, but his close attempt hit the lower side of the crossbar and bounced back on the wrong side of the line. Inter had a late, last chance to score, but it was ineffective and the second half ended with the same result of the first one.
There is no excuse for performances like this one. From players like Banega, Joao Mario and Brozovic we all expect much more and it's unacceptable to see that many easy passes missed without pressure from the opposition. I don't know if the tiredness of playing three matches in one week was the cause to blame for that but it's hard to believe that this could be enough to justify what we saw today. Also, if the players weren't in their best shape, de Boer should have chosen a different squad today to start the match. Joao Mario was easily the worst player on the pitch today and he clearly has a lot of difficulties trying to play where Medel should be and FdB should find someone else to replace the Chilean in the next match.