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Inter Milan 2-0 Genoa: Player Ratings

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We won and kept a clean sheet against a decent team, so let's not complain too much.

Inter collected their sixth consecutive home win in all competitions on Sunday evening, beating Genoa 2-0 in a difficult match that proved this is still a team in a delicate phase of convalescence. The Nerazzurri's first-half performance left plenty to be desired as Ivan Juric's team created the best chances to take the lead, but a brace from Marcelo Brozovic was enough to bring home three points that take us back into the top half of the table. A broader recap of the match recap is available for you here, while below you can read our individual player (and manager) ratings for the game at San Siro.

Players

Samir Handanovic - 6.5

This game saw Inter collect just their fourth clean sheet of the entire season, but the team had Handanovic to thank for a couple of important saves in crucial moments. Firstly he stopped Ocampos' header from going in while Genoa were enjoying their best moment of the first half, and then at the start of the second he thwarted a very dangerous Lazovic as the Serb attempted to lob him. Neither were extraordinary saves, but without them we would not have won.

Danilo D'Ambrosio - 6

Not great, although one of the decisive moments that enabled us to win the match came from him. He did not enjoy his one-on-one tussle with Ocampos, getting drawn into committing a number of fouls on the Argentine in the first half, but he was responsible for a crucial goal-line clearance on Lazovic after 20 minutes. Slightly improved in the second half; as a third center-back I think he can give the team a hand.

Miranda - 6.5

This was the first match in a long time where he didn't make a ridiculous and potentially fatal mistake, which would never have been seen as a compliment for Miranda last season but unfortunately now is. He used his physique and experience well in several dangerous situations and generally led the back-line well.

Jeison Murillo - 5.5

Unfortunately we're never going to get the Murillo from the start of last season back, it seems. All of Genoa's good chances came down his side of the pitch, underlining how the Colombian is now a potential weak spot in the team whenever he plays. At least in a back three he has a bit more cover.

Antonio Candreva - 6

He hardly did anything going forward for once, but that was to be expected given that he was playing further away from goal than he has so far this season. If Pioli wants to persist with this 3-4-3-ish system then Candreva would appear to be a good fit in the right-sided wing-back role, as he never shirks his defensive duties and has the stamina to occasionally cause problems for the opponents in attack. Laxalt was strangely off-color in this match and he was at least partly responsible for that.

Joao Mario - 7

This was a game of two halves for Inter and in particular it was a game of two halves for Joao Mario. In the first he struggled to make himself effective in both phases, demonstrating certain lacunae in the defensive side of his game, but at half-time Pioli moved him into the advanced position Eder had vacated and he was far more influential. If his first assist for Brozovic was slightly random, as he wasn't exactly aiming for Marcelo when he took the corner, the second one was simply wonderful play from the Portuguese midfielder, shimmying past Izzo before leaving Lazovic for dead and having the awareness to cut the ball back for his onrushing teammate. Quite where he would be best placed in this team remains to be seen, although a lot will depend on what formation we use going forward. As far as tonight was concerned, you can't argue with two assists in a 2-0 win.

Marcelo Brozovic - 7.5

It's certainly been a good week for Marcelo Brozovic. First the lucrative contract renewal that ties him to Inter until 2021, and then a Man of the Match performance to give his team three highly important and hard-fought points. The first goal was a lovely finish that Perin knew he had no chance of getting to, while the second came from a fine counterattacking move which he both initiated and concluded to perfection. He wasn't impeccable with the ball at his feet, misplacing a few passes especially in the first half, but it's pretty obvious that we can't do without this guy at the moment. By far the most in-form player in this team as we head towards Christmas; let's hope no one is tempted by that new €50m release clause in January.

Yuto Nagatomo - 5

While Cristian Ansaldi has hardly been perfect during his first few months at Inter, he would probably have interpreted the role of left wing-back against his former club better than Nagatomo did in his place. I'm sure he offers something to the team, because every manager that's passed through this club (and there have been many since he arrived) seems to trust him, but... well yeah. He's just not very good, and Lazovic was more than happy to take advantage of that in this game. He should count himself very lucky indeed that his troubles up against the Genoa winger didn't lead to us conceding any goals.

Eder - 5

Unfortunately Eder wasn't able to build on his match-winning performance against Sparta Prague in midweek. He was playing in a role that didn't seem to suit him, as one of the two trequartistas that flitted about behind Icardi, and left no kind of mark on the game before being replaced by Felipe Melo at half-time. He'd probably be better either on the wing or right up top alongside Icardi, as opposed to the intermediary position he was trying to hold here.

Rodrigo Palacio - 5.5

Most of what I just said about Eder can be applied to him as well, although he lasted a little longer before Pioli removed him on the hour mark. He isn't the player he used to be sadly, on both a physical and technical level, and it's a shame because he still possesses a great footballing brain.

Mauro Icardi - 6

One indisputable improvement that Pioli has made to this team since he replaced Frank de Boer is that we are no longer reliant on Icardi for our goals. Whereas before the Italian coach's arrival Maurito had scored 11 of our 18 goals in all competitions, after it he has only been responsible for 3 out of 12, which is testament to the new offensive solutions we have been trying out in the past month. A 2-0 win in which Icardi neither scores nor provides any assists is absolutely not to be sniffed at, but he had a reasonable game despite that fact, creating two nice chances in a first half that it would be better to say very little about.

Substitutes

Felipe Melo - 6

He made a couple of elementary mistakes on the ball that got the San Siro crowd right on his back, but overall his contribution was positive as he enabled us to control the second half reasonably comfortably. We were certainly a more balanced side after he replaced Eder and Joao Mario was moved forward in the Italo-Brazilian's place; the problem is that, while we definitely need a player of his type to have the balance Pioli is so desperately searching for at the moment, ideally we need someone five or six times better than Melo himself. But needs must for the moment.

Ivan Perisic - 5.5

He replaced Palacio for the final half-hour but failed to create any serious problems for a well-organized Genoa defense. Made a strange decision when trying to head a cross ball sideways to Icardi instead of going for goal himself, and that was all he did apart from a blocked shot late on. It remains to be seen where he'd fit in this system - possibly as one of the wide midfielders.

Ever Banega - n/a

Replaced Joao Mario very late on and didn't have any time to make an impact on the match.

Manager

Stefano Pioli - 6

Good enough. The tactical experiment he tried out in midweek was repeated in this game, and eventually it brought home a morale-boosting win against a good opponent, although had Genoa been more ruthless in front of goal we could have been talking about a very different outcome. He's been repeating ever since he arrived that he wants this team to be balanced more than anything else, and they didn't have it in the first half with Brozovic and Joao Mario offering little filter in front of a wobbly back three, but to his credit he changed the course of the game at half-time with his decision to take off Eder and bring on Felipe Melo. The ability to read a match and correct the problems your team is facing is a criticism many people rightly held against De Boer during his time in charge, but I think Pioli demonstrated that he can do that here, with the second half proving to be more straightforward than the first thanks in no small part to the aforementioned substitution.

Overall, you'd have to conclude that the 3-4-3 (or 3-4-2-1, as it was in practice) didn't give us magnificent responses in this match - particularly in attack, where our play was less effective than what we've shown with other systems. But at the same time I think the importance of formations in football can often be overstated, so I wouldn't take this as definitive proof that the 3-4-3 must never be tried again; depending on the way Pioli wants to interpret it (in other words, depending on which players he puts where), it could still work for us. If you ask me, it's a good thing that he's actively looking for new solutions based on the material he has at his disposal.