If you’re expecting the usual match recap where I go over all the key events that occurred during this match you might as well move on right now. It’s been several hours since the game and I’m still not in the mood to talk about the specifics of that incredibly embarrassing 90 minutes. Instead this will be a more general post giving my thoughts in the aftermath of Inter’s opening Europa League fixture.
I’m going to be honest, I was overconfident coming into this match. I looked at Hapoel and didn’t give them much of a shot. Even after I saw the starting lineup I swallowed down my initial gut reaction and figured that the team would be good enough to win. I thought that Murillo would be able to make up for Ranocchia’s liabilities. I thought that Brozovic would be able to take on the creative duties for the team. I though that the Medel-Melo combination...well I tried to just ignore that one. Finally I thought that Eder had to be able to score at least against Hapoel, and that even though I had recently declared that Rodrigo Palacio was finished as an Inter player he could make something happen in this match. I thought wrong. I thought wrong about everything.
If the A team with players like Mauro Icardi and Ever Banega have been struggling why on earth would it make sense to assume that a B team with attackers who can’t score to save their lives, a midfield more likely to pick up cards than assists, and Andrea Ranocchia could pick up a win? Simple answer: it absolutely doesn’t and Frank De Boer just learned a valuable lesson that Roberto Mancini could’ve easily given him a full lecture series on.
This presents an interesting question for FdB moving forward. The club decided not to include Stevan Jovetic, Geoffrey Kondogbia, Gabriel Barbosa, and Joao Mario in the EL squad. In order to make it out of the group De Boer is going to have to play his better players, this second team he fielded will not cut it. Icardi will need to be on the field in order to score goals, Banega will probably need to be there to offer some creativity and possibly even Gnoukouri just to prevent Medel and Melo from playing together ever again. To top that all off at least one of Candreva or Perisic will likely be needed as well. All this means that De Boer won’t be able to rotate as much in the EL as he would’ve hoped, which gives him two options. He can either continuously use his preferred players in both competitions and risk burnout, or he can rotate in Serie A, where the pressure will be much higher.
The fact I have been dancing around all article is that basically any breathing room FdB gained from the win over Pescara is now gone. To make matters worse coming up on Sunday is the Derby D’Italia against Juventus. Any mental weaknesses, any tactical errors, and even the slightest errors will be ruthlessly punished by the Serie A champions (I hate writing that), so the players cannot afford to dwell on this defeat for too long. Another embarrassing performance will only ramp up the pressure on De Boer, he really cannot afford to get things so wrong again.