Posts Tagged ‘Luis Jiménez’

The New Face of Inter Milan (Gazzetta)

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

In today’s Gazzetta dello Sport, there’s a great article by Antonino Morici that makes a preliminary analysis on José’s Inter, at least based on their first-competitive-match performance in Sunday’s Supercoppa.

It’s still early for season assessments, but given that Gazzetta are generally experts in all things Inter and AC Milan, this one’s a pretty good read:

Gazzetta dello Sport website logo

MILAN, 25 August 2008 – It’s very tempting to give in to the charisma of a boss like Mourinho. Unlike his stints in Portugal and England, José continues to have everyone on his side and deservedly so, because pre-season fixtures and the first “real” match of the year (against an opponent well within Inters’s calibre) have proven him right so far. Even if we are still on the starting blocks, and the competition (beginning with Roma) is very tough, the Italian Super Cup offered the possibility to assess how the “Special One” has been able to get under the skin of Inter Milan, a team that before his term had won 2 league titles, 2 Italian Cups and 2 Super Cups in three years’ time.

MENTALITY - In four years of Roberto Mancini, only in very few occasions did we ever see 3 attacking players on the pitch at the same time. Apart from differences in the line-up however, the main discrepancy seems to be philosophical: Zlatan Ibrahimovic continues to be the main reference point, but unlike before when Inter based their strength on physical superiority, eagerly searching for depth with two attackers or trying a vertical play with a trequartista (Stankovic, Jiménez or Figo), the Nerazzurri have now found their centre of gravity on the wings, continuously changing fronts and going deep with their “ball on the ground” style. Against Roma for instance, Inter paid particular attention to seemingly trivial play situations: for example, Figo (not exactly a rookie) would rush along the wing to hinder Riise’s powerful throw-in, giving the impression this was part of a perfectly thought-out plan.

INTENSITY – During the first half, the pace and quality of the nerazzurri were impressive. “We had decided to put pressure on Roma in their first phase (i.e. the start-up) because we knew that it was one of their main strengths” said Mourinho yesterday evening. In fact, Spalletti got very little out of his wingers, who were limited to stay “low” thanks to Figo and especially Mancini (who more than once kept close guard on Cassetti, all the way down to the end line). In the center, two midfield dams: the first formed by Sulley Muntari and Javier Zanetti, the other by Dejan Stankovic (reborn in the role of “back” playmaker in front of the defence, and very accurate with his passes). With the spaces closed, Inter could highlight the individual skills of their players: the right-wing line (Maicon-Figo) worked very efficiently with Ibrahimovic (creating three scoring chances in the first 30 mins), much to the delight of the ex-Barcelona and Real Madrid player, finally back to his natural winger position.

BALOTELLI – Finally, extra time simply highlighted what can be expected of someone like Balotelli over the next few years. At 18 years of age and with a serious possibility of playing many matches in José’s attacking trio, Mario has shown to be fully deserving of the trust placed into him by Mourinho, exhibiting quality with free-kicks, moving passes through the lines (which led to the 2-1 goal), the personality shown when facing opponents like Mexès and Juan, or his cool finishing inside the box. We get the strong feeling we are about to see a real phenomenon in action, one who (assuming he resists the instinct of giving in to nerves) might make his Azzurro dream come true much earlier than anticipated.