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Spalletti says Inter Milan issues are mental

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But, really, are they?

FC Internazionale v Bologna FC - Serie A
FC Internazionale coach Luciano Spalletti gestures during the Serie A match between FC Internazionale and Bologna FC at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on February 3, 2019 in Milan, Italy.
Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

Following the disappointing 1-0 loss at home to Bologna, Inter Milan manager Luciano Spalletti lashed out at his team.

For good reason. The Nerazzurri lacked creativity, lacked offense, lacked poise, lacked just about everything in the loss.

“I told my team how I want them to play,” Spalletti told the press. “But at the moment I don’t see the right attitude. We see from week to week how they react. We need clear and concrete answers, strong reactions and seriousness on the pitch.”

But we have seen this before. Last season, Inter went through a January collapse that saw them fall from as high as first to as low as fifth over the course of the month.

Spalletti, however, suggested the two issues are not necessarily connected.

“It depends on how things develop,” Spalletti said. “It adds on to the little things which have already happened. An injury, a suspension, and moments that run counter to that. Thus, self-esteem is lacking. Even from those who are full of enthusiasm.

“Being able to work in a certain way determines the reaction in the players, little changes then change that condition.”

My question is why is the self-esteem lacking? It can’t be because the team lacks quality. It can’t be because the team lacks cohesion. All of these things we have seen since the beginning of the season, so why would it fall off now?

You also can’t tell me it is because of the pressure. This is Inter for crying out loud! Any player coming into the team has to understand there is an element of pressure to win titles and be successful. I would venture a guess that it is the case with most teams. Any team that doesn’t have that kind of pressure isn’t likely team any current Inter players would want to be a part of.

Most quality players actually thrive on pressure. They want the pressure and to live up to it.

While I am not a proponent of calling for Spalletti’s ouster, I have to wonder how much of this lies with the coach.

Looking back to last season, half of Inter’s team was different during the last collapse. So, in the off-season (and even in January) we brought in some new blood to try to change things around. Stefan de Vrij, Kwadwo Asamoah, Lautaro Martinez, Radja Nainggolan, Matteo Politano, Sime Vrsaljko … none of them were on the team last season – so I can’t find fault there. Even Joao Mario was gone at the point when Inter started to falter.

Mauro Icardi, Ivan Perisic, Matias Vecino, Borja Valero, Milan Skriniar, Danilo D’Ambrosio, Samir Handanovic and Andrea Ranocchia were on the squad at the same time. So, there should be some responsibility there for at least pulling the team out of the lapse. These guys have been through it and know what if feels like to fall below expectation.

Then, you have Spalletti.

He is the most common denominator in this equation. I’m not suggesting that the fault lies completely with him, but as a manager, the buck stops with you.

Does that mean he should be fired? Not necessarily. But, I would be happy to see some kind of responsibility accepted by Spalletti for what we are seeing on the pitch.

Poor passing, poor decisions and no offensive execution of value.

In the end, I think Spalletti is right that the problem with Inter presently is mental. However, I think that has to extend to the field management, not just the players.

Something is in Spalletti’s head and it is impacting his reactions on the pitch. I have no idea what it is, but this team could really use a “coming to Jesus” meeting where they can all get on the same page. Air out issues and get back to business.

“Get your head right,” was something I heard coaches say plenty of times to players who were not in the game. This would be a good message to the entire Inter staff, not just the players.

The fan base is already jeering the team. I am not sure how much longer they will have an interest in watching what is put on the pitch if this run of play continues. That said, I am not sure how much longer Spalletti has if this run of play continues.


What do you think? Post your comments below!