Monthly Archives: June 2011

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A Look At Inter’s New Head Coach Gian Piero Gasperini

So after a week or so of wild rumours & intense speculation Inter finally have their new coach, not one of the big names that were either tied up with contracts at other teams or one of the two that said no to us then moved to other clubs (mentioning no names eh! AVB) but in the end Massimo Moratti decided on the mediocre coach who i was backing from the start if we couldn’t convince a big name to sign.  The question on everyone’s lips though is can he step up to the challenge of returning Inter to being the holders of the Scudetto while retaining our Coppa Italia title and putting in a good showing in the Champions league (Lets face it if we reach the quarters then that’s good enough for his first season!)  So in this post i’m going to look at his history and how i see things going with Gian Piero Gasperini at the helm………

With the bureaucratic formalities to complete before the deal is officially announced with his first Inter press conference we do know that the 53 year old will sign a two year contract of which it has been widely speculated that he will only do one year before Pep Gaurdiola arrives from Barca to take over, but as i say these are just rumours so we have to assume that he will be with us for the full two years (unless of course he does a Benitez on us & turns out to be terrible, though i really can’t see that being the case.)
Along with him he’s bringing two members of his back room staff who will work alongside the Nerazzurri staff already in place the first of which is his assistant Bruno Caneo who had a 14 year playing career as a midfielder then started his career as a coach in 1991 and became Gasperini’s assistant in 2006.  The second to come in is fitness trainer Luca Trucchi who i know nothing about and couldn’t find any info on Google so i’ll just have to presume he’s good enough to do his job at Inter.
So who is Gian Piero Gasperini?  Well he started his career as a midfielder in the Juventus youth system at the age of 9, his senior career started 9 years later where he played a hand full of Coppa Italia matches for Juve before being loaned out to Reggiana and so began what i’d descibe as a 17 year unremarkable playing career in various lower level teams with a stint in Serie A with Pescara in 1987, he retired from playing at the age of 35 in 1993.  The following year he returned to Juve’s youth team but this time as coach a job he held until 2003when he joined Serie C1 team Crotone who he lead to promotion to Serie B via the playoffs, in the 2004/2005 season he was fired to be taken back on shortly afterward before he was spotted by an ambitious Genoa in 2006 gaining promotion for the Rossoblu to the top flight in his 1st season.  In the 2008–2009 season, Gasperini led Genoa to fifth place of Serie A, the highest placement for the team in 19 years, securing a UEFA Europa League spot for his club, relaunching players like Diego Milito and Thiago Motta in a 3–4–3 formation and a particularly spectacular football style that was praised throughout Italy, so that José Mourinho, stated that Gasperini was the coach who put him in greater difficulty after matching the ‘Special’ one tactically in what Jose has since described as the most spectacular 0-0 draes he had every seen.  Also in 2009 he was inline for the job as Sir Alex Ferguson’s assistant, such was his growing reputation in the game, but he wanted to stay & guild Genoa to a Champions league spot.  However, a poor start in the 2010–11 season, with 11 points in 10 games despite popular signings such as Luca Toni, Rafinha, Andrea Ranocchia and Kakha Kaladze, caused Gasperini’s dismissal from his coaching post on November 8, 2010 and now as you know he has been appointed as the Nerazzurri head coach.
At Inter there will be a necessity to exercise his supreme tactical qualities, with the club having missed out on such direction since Mourinho left a year ago. But they will also need somebody who will be able to nurture the abilities of the bigger stars in their squad such as Wesley Sneijder and Samuel Eto’o, and it is in this that the new boss has no real track record.  So, as he wanders into the great unknown with Inter, Gasperini is being asked to fulfil his destiny in taking the reins at a top European side, while also facing pressure to deliver on a big stage like never before. The next two years will prove whether Ferguson and Mourinho were right about him, or whether Moratti and Branca should have kept on searching.

What can we expect tactically from our new boss?  In the past he’s been know to push for free flowing football with his controversial 3-4-3 formation which i know alot of Interista are very dubious about but i believe a fresh approach is exactly what is needed at the club and besides if he uses the right players it should play more like my personal favourite 5-3-2 formation which in my opinion suits the players we have in the ranks as i discussed in my post on the rebuilding of Inter which is handy as it’s looking more & more likely there isn’t going to be too many new players this summer.  A lot of my fellow Interista have said to me in a recent conversation about formations on Twitter that only having 3 defenders would be suicidal but if he plays Samuel, Ranocchia & Lucio as CB, with Nagatomo & Maicon running the wings as WBs with Zanetti & Cambiasso as CMs also covering back to help out the CBs then sit Sneijder slightly behind the front line of Eto’o & Pazzini we would have pretty much a perfectly balanced formation that can switch from defence to attack in no time at all which is ideal for playing on the counter attack.

All in all Gasperini’s appointment at Inter could be a good thing for us as long as he can handle the pressure of being at the helm of the Nerazzurri, but all we can do is have faith in him & see if he can live up to the potential he has shown in the past.  Unfortunately for him the first competitive test he’ll face will be a derby match against AC Milan in the Italian Super cup in Beijing so like most of the fans i’m hoping that now the managerial crisis has been sorted we can moved to bring in some excellent players to the Black & Blue side of the San Siro.

Inter In Chaos!

Well here we are 18 days into the 2011 summer transfer window and instead of the strengthening of Inter that we all expected with not alot of movement being shown in signing new players while in the Nerazzurri camp it’s starting to look more like a meltdown than a revolution. 
After committing to the Nerazzurri a few weeks ago Wesley Sneijder disappointed all the Interista and Massimo Moratti by stating that “Only God will decide where my future lies.followed a few days later by a statement from Samuel Eto’o who also had committed to our beloved club that “Playing in England is an idea I have had in my head for some time and now what matters to me is finding a good team,” then followed the best news so far this summer that Leonardo was leaving to take up a directors role at Paris St Germain, which in it’s self is great news as I’ve felt for a while that he wasn’t up to the job at Inter but it has raised the question as to who is? And the cherry and icing on the cake is that it’s been revealed that Lucio is considering a contract from Malaga after the powers that be at Inter refused to give him a two year extension to his contract!
So lets start with the management problem don’t get me wrong i’m happy that Leonardo has gone as he had a good run but he wasn’t right for Inter but we are back with the same problem we had this time last season, Who is good enough to replace Mourinho? well it won’t be the ‘Special One’ as he has already said he’s staying at Real Madrid and he’s not likely to leave till he’s won La Liga with them.  There was talk of Argentine Bielsa taking over but according to Moratti he refused due to personal reasons.  Then there was talk of the recently fired Ancelotti taking the reins but that’s been denied by both camps and besides why would we want another Milanista in charge of our club, never again i say! There is a rumour going around that Pep Gaurdiola will be joining at the end of next season but who knows how true that is so for the purposes of this post i look at it as a permanent position.  Personally i’d like to see Gus Hiddink in the hot seat but i don’t think he’s really in the running and if he leaves the Turkish national team he’s likely to rejoin Chelsea so let’s look at the pros & cons of the managers that are in the running.

Andre Villas-Boas
For me this guy is the 1st choice and the natural successor to Mourinho after being his right hand at both Chelsea and more importantly at Inter.  At just 33, Villas-Boas is regarded as an up-and-coming genius on the coaching scene – proving his credentials last season by winning a historic treble with Porto of the Portuguese league, cup, and Europa League.

However, it’s not only a 15 million release clause that stands in the way of the ‘new kid on the block’ coming back to San Siro; Villas-Boas has already made it clear that he intends to continue with his impressive Porto side, but you never know stranger things have happened so i’m going to keep my fingers crossed.  Of course people are saying 15 million for a manager is excessive and you could get a decent player for that but for me having a decent manager is just as important as the players so it’d be money well spent for me.

Gian Piero Gasperini

Gian Piero Gasperini has steadily climbed the ranks of Italian football since taking over as Juventus youth team coach in 1994, a position he held until 2003. He then moved on to Crotone, winning them promotion to Serie B. He is best known for his stint at Genoa, whom he led to Serie A, and also earned impressive finishes in the top half of the standings before being sacked last season after a mediocre start to 2010-11. He was recently linked with the position at Champions League-bound Napoli before Walter Mazzarri announced he would continue with the southern club.

In Gasperini’s favour is his availability and motivation to prove himself with a big club, an opportunity many feel he deserves. However, working against him is his lack of experience at the highest level. Tactically, Gasperini has intriguing ideas, often employing a 3-4-3 or 4-3-3. The Italian media recently reported Moratti met with Genoa president Enrico Preziosi in order to discuss releasing the coach from his ‘gardening leave’, as his contract is still in effect despite being relieved of his duties last November. I think if we can’t get Hiddink or Villas-Boas than Gasperini would be the next choice for me.

Sinisa Mihajlovic

The Serbian has a strong connection to Inter, having ended his playing career at San Siro before taking the role of assistant alongside former Nerazzurri boss Roberto Mancini. Being very familiar with the club, the former free-kick specialist would seem a natural choice to take over.  But i don’t think he has got anywhere near enough experience to keep Inter at the top of the game though the Italian press are making him favourite to take over.

Mihajlovic enjoyed success with Catania (as many coaches seem to do) before replacing now-Italian national team boss Cesare Prandelli at Fiorentina. It took time, but the 42-year-old eventually settled with the injury-hit Viola in the last third of the 2010-11 campaign and it’s unlikely the Viola will let him go easily, as they see him as a long-term appointment.

Claudio Ranieri

‘The Tinkerman’ can steady a ship, perhaps what Inter need at this point, but is often regarded as ‘the best loser’, reaching second place or close to a trophy but always coming up short in the end. He is possibly a good candidate if the rumours of Gaurdiola coming next summer are true as he’d keep the seat warm and the team in check. He has plenty of experience in Serie A, as well as international stints with Valencia, Chelsea, and Atletico Madrid.

His past with rivals Juventus and Roma may prove a difficult pill for the Inter fans to swallow, but his reputation and knowledge of Calcio make him one of the ideal candidates, not to mention he’s currently out of work after leaving the Giallorossi midway through last season.

These seem the most likely candidates for the job to me though there are others that have been linked including ex Nerazzurri midfield general Diego Simeone, Capello and even Louis Van Gaal but we’ll have to wait and see.  On the bright side Moratti has ensured fans that the vacant position will be filled next week.
What about Transfers?
The other major problem that is facing Inter are the possible departures of our key players Sneijder, Eto’o & Lucio unfortunately all we can do is pray that the powers that be at Inter can convince them their futures lie in Milan otherwise we have got a major up hill struggle coming in the new season.  On the subject of incoming transfers all the talk of big name signings that have been floating about for months aren’t really materialising with other major European teams snatching them up or getting ahead of us in negotiations for the best of these i.e Alexis Sanchez, in fact Branca doesn’t seem to be doing anything particularly relevant in the market while teams like Milan, Juve, and even Lazio & Roma are making some great signings which are going to make life very difficult for us when the season kicks off, in fact all we have done is signed Luc Castaignos, which was done even before last season ended and i’ve found out today that although Yuto Nagatomo is now officially an Inter player we only own half of him so all in all so far this transfer window we have signed a grand total of one and a half players! Would you call that an overhaul Branca? Pull your finger out we are getting left a long way behind here.
What’s to come in the next couple of months concerning transfers is anyones guess but things need to start happening fast or we will end up back in that dark period of the 90’s that none of us Interista ever want to see again, fingers crossed that won’t happen.  Though to be fair if it did i’d still be here singing Pazza Inter Amala!

2010/2011 Inter Season Review

So that’s it the 2010/2011 season has come to a close & what a rollercoaster it’s been, filled with victories, anger, disappointment & pride.
In this season review i’ll go through what went right and what went wrong for the Nerazzurri this season.
After five years of superiority in Serie A Inter have lost the Scudetto to our cross town rivals AC Milan who have claimed the title for the 1st time in 7 years and as disappointing as this is the mood amongst Interisti isn’t as bad as you’d think as for all the disappointment of losing the Scudetto there is still plenty for us to hold our heads high with pride for.

Inter’s season has been full of twists and turns that have made this campaign almost like watching a medium budget Hollywood production. We came no where near reaching the fantastic feats of last season’s treble but neither have we sunk like the Titanic as was expected at one point when we were sat in a miserable mid table position with no sign of the ‘Grande’ Inter of Mourinho’s reign, but let’s go back to where it started with Jose Mourinho’s tearful farewell shortly after winning our historic treble that marked the end of an era but also in my opinion had massive implications in the morale of the Inter players which had a huge impact on how the defences of our title was going to go, a season with far too many mistakes.
The first of these mistakes was the hiring of Rafael Benitez who in my opinion is one of the worst managers in Inter’s history, almost straight away there was tension in the management as Moratti refused to sign new players in the summer as he believed there was no need and Benitez disagreed. Inter’s Benitez era is best summed up by the phrase ‘it was not meant to be’ though i prefer to look at it as ‘why did we hire the manager who was being called useless by Liverpool fans who were supposed to love him?’ anyway during this time Injuries mounted, player discontent increased, results deteriorated and Benitez himself became erratic in his decisions, he clearly wanted to build his own team that worked to his philosophy but the players were missing the techniques and regime of the ‘Special one’ now at Real Madrid.
Though we managed to secure the Italian Super Cup against a terrible Roma team the European Super Cup was well out of our reach with a bad performance from the team and already it was starting to become clear Benitez had no control over the Inter squad. With a divide ripping through the Inter camp by December the Nerazzurri was looking half the team they were under Mourinho. Winning the Club World Cup got the spirit of the players and fans back up but Benitez still wasn’t happy and after an unproffesional outburst during the post match interview Moratti decided that enough was enough and fired the Spaniard.
Then on Christmas eve phase two of the season started with the shock appointment of ex AC Milan man Leonardo, the Brazilian took the Biscione by storm and managed to paper over some of the cracks which were showing in the team and also his own tactical abilities but he was getting the results and all of a sudden Inter were back in the Scudetto race and still on for a second treble in a row which was reinforced by our fantastic comeback win over Bayern Munich in the Champions league last 16 match, though defensivly we were letting in far too many goals in all compititions with Leonardo’s all out attack philosophy, this became the focus of attention during one of the most disasterous week’s in the club’s history as we lost 3-0 to rivals AC Milan and hammered by a mediocre Shalke team in the champions league quarter finals which knocked us out of the European competition and eventually out of the running for the Scudetto, on the plus side we secured the Coppa Italia in confident style on the last match of the season.
After the disasterous start to the season under Benitez any Interisti would be more than happy with 3 trophies, 2nd place in the league and a decent run in the Champions league but it was the manner of Inter’s failure that left a bitter taste in our mouths, even under Leonardo the team failed at decisive moments and with an ageing squad and numerous injuries the inabilities and lack of creativity and poor back up for the defensive positions were highlighted. It is now clear that work needs to be done for next season with an injection of youth to freshen up our squad which still is very talented.

Leonardo’s appointment was never designed to win, it was meant to rescue. And the Brazilian has done very well in fulfilling that brief. He was caught out tactically by more experienced tacticians as seen against Udinese, Milan and Schalke, but he is also the reason why Inter won’t look at this as an utter failure of a season. Moratti and Branca made some vital signings in January of which Giampaolo Pazzini’s acquisition has reaped the best rewards. Andrea Ranocchia may yet shine given an opportunity of full pre-season training and working with the likes of Walter Samuel, whose injury was quite possibly the biggest reason why Inter leaked goals like a damaged water pipe. Yuto Nagatomo brought something to Inter that had been missing for the longest time, a pacey left-back. But, his sustainability throughout a campaign is yet questionable.

The best thing that has happened for Inter this season is that they have relinquished the title. It has made Moratti realize that his squad needs a spark if he plans to sustain their success levels from years past. Moves are being made to address this issue and Leonardo’s confirmation as Coach for next season is the first step towards ensuring a stable and developmental approach for the future.

Coach – Leonardo:

The Brazilian’s statistics fail to highlight his failures but they reflect handsomely on his success. Inter won every single home game in the league under him but when it really mattered they failed to deliver. He definitely needs to work on the tactical side of the game, but motivationally he is one of the best and knows how to get the most out of his team.

Player of the Season – Samuel Eto’o:

There are no other contenders for this honour as without him, Inter would have been a laughing stock for the first half of their season. He took on the responsibility of scoring and delivered, resulting in 37 goals for Inter this season beating his previous personal best of 36 he scored for Barca, if he can continue in the same vein next season and with Pazzini along, Inter can feel secure.

Turning point – Milan 3-0 Inter:

This was the beginning of the end for Inter. They conceded in the opening minute and gradually lost the plot as the game unfolded. A win would have put them top, but they flopped and it was followed by an even worse performance against Schalke in the infamous 2-5 defeat.

What’s to come?

Hopefully Inter will break the habit of a lifetime and make a real effort to compete with Europe’s biggest teams to secure the signatures of some big names which means Moratti needs to spend some serious money, time will tell and all we can do is sit back and see what happens over the summer. One thing is definite though Inter will be a force to be reckoned with next season no matter what happens.

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