Why Inter Needs Fabio Capello
The news came out this morning as I got myself ready for work, “Fabio Capello resigns as England coach.” Living in Australia and being a fan of football in Europe is difficult as far as time zones go, but I try to stay up to date the best that I can. By the time I settled into my office at work news was already circulating about why he quit, about the possibility of Redknapp taking over, and then there was the inevitable – a list of clubs already rumoured to be after the Italian manager.
Seeing Tottenham as one of the clubs instantly gave me a nervous feeling. An overwhelming sense that the Nerazzurri should be doing all they can to gain the services of this remarkable tactician took over. We need to get Fabio!
After all the emotion had passed and reason began to take over, I was quite surprised that I was still of the feeling that this man would be the best manager we could get since the departure of Mourinho in 2010, and the following article will explain exactly why.
Forget the fact that Capello has won league titles with every single club that he has managed – this is completely beside the point. He started his managerial career way back in 1991, calcio has changed significantly since then. What we should be interested in is HOW he achieved so much success (7 titles in 16 seasons is quite impressive, considering this doesn’t include the two that were rightfully stripped from Juventus after that Calciopoli scandal).
Fabio Capello is one of those men who can instantly gain the respect of an entire squad, and quite quickly as well. He has the stature, personality and ideology of a leader, one whom his players will listen to, take in the advice and then use it without a second thought. For a team such as Inter in their current situation, this is not just the type of man that the club needs, this IS THE MAN that they need.
A champion of the Catenaccio system of play, Capello steered San Siro rivals, AC Milan to four scudetti. He had a team of great players, but many teams today are full of stars yet can’t translate this to championships. As manager, he is a disciplinarian. In this writer’s opinion, that is something that will be absolutely essential to Inter at the beginning of the next season. The Nerazzurri have a number of young, talented players who have signed recently and will need a coach with this stature to guide them in their early days at Inter.
Juan, Fredy Guarin and Ricky Alvarez. All youngsters from South America who have the potential to become legends of the game and superstars for the Nerazzurri. As far as selecting squads goes, Capello, unlike Ranieri and more like Mourinho, is a manager who makes the obvious, logical decisions. However, let’s set our focus on one of the real areas where Inter is failing right now: The defense.
As stated earlier, Capello employs the system of Catenaccio. A style of play that emphasizes defense and maximizes the potential to shut out the attack from the opposition. With a preference for this tactic, one can assume that Capello will focus strongly on our back players early on, possibly even restructuring the entire squad around them. With current players now on the other side of 30 and performing ordinarily of late, one of two things needs to happen; 1) A change to the training regime as well as an overhaul of the current system of play or, 2) New signings.
With the exception of Yuto Nagatomo and Andrea Ranocchia, the Inter defense doesn’t hold much youth. Maicon, Lucio and Chivu are all on the wrong side of 30 and performances have been flagged on numerous occasions. Zanetti now plays midfield but, to be completely honest, he will be sorely missed but it won’t be long before the Nerazzurri legend calls it a day. Inter need a review of their current defensive strategy. Employing Capello’s preferred system won’t be pretty (it rarely is) but it will, in effect, restore dignity at Inter where losses of 4-0 could again become a thing of the past.
In 2010 when Inter won the Champions League, the counter attack by the Nerazzurri was by far the best in Europe. In fact, it’s pretty much how we won our treble. Catenaccio allows the counter attack to thrive well within its system. How did Inter virtually shut out the attacking powerhouse of Barcelona in that same year? Twice? If you ever find the opportunity to re-watch that nail-biting second half, you can see the importance of a solid, tight and unyielding defense.
Let’s fast forward almost two years. It’s February 5th 2012 and Juan has scored within the first 15 minutes followed by a brace by Borini on either side of half time. They finally prove that they never turned up by allowing a fourth by Bojan in the 89th.
Luis Enrique admits that Roma are employing Barcelona’s style of play. They attack, attack, attack and attack. They hold possession, they pass well and they know how to keep a defensive line running in circles. This is exactly what Inter did on that freezing day at the Olimpico. They ran in circles. Their percentage of having the ball in possession was around 34%. For a team with too many holes in their defense, having this amount of possession is going to translate to conceding goals, and lots of them.
Younger players in the back such as Nagatomo, who have speed, agility, intelligence and intensity in their game are a positive sign. The midfield is not where Inter need to rebuild right now, it’s their defensive line. Nagatomo is a player, who I believe, Inter should hang on to for as long as possible. He subscribes to the club value of not giving up and remaining strong. The intensity in the way he plays is by far the best in the squad. He will develop even better under Capello, and so will Ranocchia.
In fact, it’s not just the Inter defensive players; the entire squad will flourish under a reinvigorated system. If the question is, “how do we shut out all these losses and goals 2012?”
The answer is, Fabio Capello.