After a morning training session that included recovery programmes for Ivan Cordoba, Jonathan, Thiago Motta & Nelson Rivas. After the session it was decided that three players weren’t 100% and wouldn’t be involved in the afternoon friendly against Mezzocorona, missing was Yuto Nagatomo (slight muscle strain in the left thigh which he picked up during the morning session), Giampaolo Pazzini (groin fatigue, is this down to the fact he’s still a newly wed? You decide!) & also Walter Samuel (who is still involved in a strength training program after last seasons injury)
So on to the afternoon match which i got to watch on a very grainy & slow live stream that tested my paitence several times by putting adverts on at random times during the match including as Inter scored their first three goals, luckily for me (& the sake of my computer, which i was getting close to throwing out of the window!) it came back on just in time for the replays each time. The fireworks started early before the match when in a mark of respect for the great Giacinto Facchetti who’s 69th Birthday it would have been today, the players came onto the pitch all wearing the special ‘Grande Inter’ shirt with the number 3 on the back, which they then threw in to the crowd as a present for a lucky few Interista.
Inter uped the ante after their first test against Trentino by facing Serie D team Mezzocorona yesterday. We were caugth slightly of gaurd as after just one minute of play the minnows went looking for the opening goal with a cross by Pelizzari & a shot from Tomasi, which was saved comfortably by Casellazzi, however it didn’t take long for the Nerazzurri to get in to their stride when Eto’o set up Pandev to make it 1-0. The Macedonian made his presence felt again in the 4th & 6th minutes when he hit the post both times. Pandev may have scored but i still don’t believe he’s good enough to play for Inter, for me he always seems slow & clumsy when he’s on the ball & he lacks the skill of his team mates, but that’s just my opinion & it seems we are stuck with him for now.
Eto’o then delivered the second goal after Santon made a magnificent run up the right beating Pelizzari & then crossed it in to the box where Eto’o put the ball through Mair’s legs to make it 2-0. Santon relly shone in the match today showing that his loan last season did him the world of good i just hope that Inter see that & give him more of a chance in the 1st team this season.
In the 25th minute Eto’o made a fantastic counter attack when he took the ball past a slide tackling Chessa and sprinted in to the penalty box where he made a diagonal pass to Sneijder who with plenty of space just slotted it home to make the score 3-0. In the 33rd minute Mair was forced to pull of a miraculous save when, yes you’ve guessed it, Eto’o launched a powerful right footed shot from distance. The resulting corner was taken by Sneijder & was found in the middle of the area by Alvarez’s head to bring the score to 4-0.
Not long after the restart Obi fired a long distance missile when a long corner found him outside the box but Mair was up to the task & managed to parry it away. Then on the 41st minute Pandev found his 2nd, Sneijder slid to gather a loose ball & managed to get it to Eto’o who juggled & tapped it to the Macedonian who tucked it away to put Inter 5-0 ahead at half time.
After such a thrilling 1st half i was expecting the same again for the second but that wasn’t meant to be as Gasperini was ready to try a few ideas out during the last 45 minutes. Starting with the same 11 players on the field, Alvarez tested the keeper after a great play on the 47th minute which was pushed out for a corner. Gasperini made his first changes on the 52nd minute and shifted his formation to a 4 man defence, 2 minutes later Ricky bagged his 2nd goal of the game with an assist from Pandev beating the keeper with a beautiful left footed shot into the top corner. After that the second half started to look more like the training match it was as Gasperini brought on more youngsters & experimented with his tactics.
In the 64th minute Mezzocorona got a consolation goal as Timpone fired a long distance shot ,which Viviano should have saved easily, to make the score 6-1. Three minutes later Mariga tried a spectacular bicycle kick that very nearly added to the score & Alibec after a touch from Bessa had a go at one too with a diagonal left footer that ended up just wide of the post. So Inter’s 2nd test ended 6-1 & so far things are looking quite promising for the Nerazzurri but i feel it’s time we faced a harder opponent to test our defensive qualities as we have now shown our attack is fantastic, Wednesday 20 July will be the third friendly for Inter: an appointment in Rovereto, where Inter will face Cremonese at 17:00. Followed by what i consider our 1st proper test against Galatasaray on Sunday.
Inter 6-1 Mezzocorona (HT: 5-0)
Scorers: Pandev 2 and 41, Eto’o 9, Sneijder 25, Alvarez 33 and 54, Timpone 64.
Referee: Valente (Bolzano); assistants: Lenarduzzi and Gravina.
Attendance: Stadio Pineta sold out (over 6 thousand spectators).
Inter (first half):
Castellazzi; Ranocchia, Caldirola, Chivu; Santon, Stankovic, Sneijder, Obi; Alvarez, Eto’o, Pandev.
On the pitch in the second half:
Viviano, Bianchetti, Natalino, Faraoni, Crisetig, Bessa, Longo, Mariga, Muntari, Castaignos, Alibec.
Coach: Gian Piero Gasperini.
Mair; Allegretti, Felter, Chessa, Pelizzari; Pasquetti; Paracampo, Laforgia; Tomasi, Monti, Mele.
Tait, Franzoi, Timpone, Nervo.
Coach: Stefano De Agostini.
Gian Piero Gasperini
“This was our first real game, regardless of the opposition: the players showed good movement and have already taken on a lot of our tactical instructions – it’s a good base to work on.” Yesterday’s win made it two out of two for Gasperini and he was able to see the improvement made between the two fixtures. In his interview with Sky Sports 24 he explained his decision to play Sneijder in midfield “He performed very well in that role, he has the ability to do that because he knows how to play in different positions, but today in he was very good indeed. He brought quality to the team’s play, spreading passes around, closing down and he even got a goal. A player who plays well and also helps the team to play better is a great element to have, as he is capable of leading the team. What if he were to leave? We know that things can take sudden turns in the transfer market but the truth is that Sneijder is working hard because he’s at Inter now and he’s also looking to go forward with the club.” Again it is stressed that neither Inter or Sneijder himself wants to end their relationship & they are working with the assumption that he is still a major player in the squad. The interviewer then commented on the flexibility show by the Nerazzurri during this fixture “The whole team showed today that they can adapt and the fact that they know where they have to be and where their team-mates are – regardless of who they are playing against – after just a week of training together is a good sign. I must thank all the players, who have helped me in every way they could. I always say that in every group there are the locomotives and the wagons; here they are all locomotives pulling Inter along.”
He was then asked about Alvarez who struck a brace yesterday & has now scored 3 in 2 games and people are comparing the Argentinean to Arjen Robben.(Though hopefully he won’t be as injury prone as the Dutchman) “All I can say is that to me Alvarez looks like Alvarez. I think Inter have made an important signing – he’s a great player and he’ll be an important part of this club.”
So hopefully with Alvarez settling in to the squad so quickly I will get my wish and we will give up our interest on Palacio “At the moment I’m satisfied with everyone and what they are doing.” The interviewer also mentioned the elimination of Argentina from the Copa America “It was unexpected but I think that Cambiasso, Milito and Zanetti will still have a break now, then we’ll see over the next few weeks, if we pick up any injuries and other factors whether we’ll be able to use the Pinzolo group against AC Milan too. Of course, having the Argentinians available a week earlier than expected will enable us to adjust our timescale. Did I watch the match last night? Some of it, I thought Argentina played better than in some of their other games. I’m sorry for our players who I’m sure would have wanted to go all the way.” Of course since this interview Brazil have also been knocked out so i presume the same will go for them too. On the subject of Argentina he also spoke about Lionel Messi “I think that the Messi of Argentina is the same as the one for Barcelona, but this explains how the team is the important component for a single player as well”
and about Diego Milito, unused by coach Batista: “I think in this way, Milito will be even more eager and charged up to play a great season with Inter. He’s never had great luck with his national team; even last year after a sensational season with Inter he still wasn’t able to find much space.”
From Argentina to Brazil: “Am I worried about Julio Cesar’s difficulties? No, he makes two errors a year at most… so he’s already made them for this season.”
And finally he was asked about the transfer market and rumours of a Viviano-Palacio trade: “These discussions are for the directors. I can only say that, for the moment, Viviano is here training and doing his best, then we’ll see.”
Ricardo Alvarez – “Nerazzurri fans, I’ll repay you”
After the match in which he scored a brace ‘Ricky’ gave a brief statement:
“I’m very happy because we’re working really well and I’m satisfied because I feel good and I’m adapting quickly.” He went on to say “Samuel is my room-mate, and he’s been great in helping me to settle into the group and Italy in general. The fans here are extraordinary; I didn’t expect them to give me such a fantastic reception. I hope I can give back to them everything they have given me in these first few days.”
“Today we did well. The rhythm increased, but three extra days of work did well.”
Speaking to Sky Sport Italia, Luca gave his verdict on the friendly match played against Mezzocorona, in which he was on the pitch for 45 minutes: “It was a good test, we are growing, all of us. Even Alvarez? He’s a surprise, but I must say that the leaders of this group have taken a hold of the team and are setting an example.” When asked about the different defensive approaches tried by Gasperini in the match the
Nerazzurri goalkeeper stated: “We’re trying out formations of three but we already see that it’s working well. Gasperini is very helpful, attentive, talkative, and after having faced him many times as an opponent in the Genoa derby it’s a pleasure to work with him.” It is good to see that even though Gasperini’s formations are different to what Inter are used to, he is explaining how it works and spending time to make sure they know what’s required of them.
“Today’s test was tougher than the last one, but we did well.” Andrea Ranocchia spoke about Inter’s victory in the friendly match against Mezzocorona, explaining: “We’re improving day by day and trying different solutions to address all the situations that arise during the course of the season. I’m happy because I feel good; the small injury I had is already gone.”
Daniel Bessa – “A lovely experience”
The pre-season is a great chance for Interisti like me that don’t really follow our Primavera team to get a look at the Nerazzurri youngsters in action among which is Daniel Bessa who plays an attacking midfield role & is part of Italy’s U-18’s squad, after the Mezzocorona match he was asked what it was like to be included in a game with some of the 1st team regulars “I’m pleased to be working with champions at this level, it’s a lovely experience. Gasperini pays a lot of attention to us youngsters and really wants us to do well in the game. In the first friendly match against Trentino Team we played even longer and it was even better.” If nothing else experiences like these give the youngsters a motivation to do what’s neccesary to break in to the 1st team squad, Bessa concluded by looking to the future with a promise: “I want to learn to play anywhere and in whichever position Gasperini should choose to field me in. I’ll play, listen and learn.”
The 2011 F.C. Internazionale pre-season training camp will end on Wednesday 20 July at the Stadio Quercia in Rovereto with a 17:00 kick off for Inter’s third summer friendly tie when they take on Oscar Brevi’s Cremonese, who will be playing in the Lega Pro Prima Divisione Group A next season. Then on to Galatasaray for Sunday’s friendly before the Dublin Super Cup on 30th & 31st July.