Inter was in the Champions League last week with trips to Genoa in Serie A and a trip to Ukraine against Shakhtar.
A win in Genoa put them back on the road to success after losing the Derby last weekend. This meant they made an extra jump in their stride before a competitive game against Shakhtar during the week.
A poor 0-0 draw, however, gave them a lot of work to qualify for the knockout round in the Champions League.
Here’s what we picked out of a crazy week for Inter.
The dreams of the Champions League are shattered again
After last week’s draw with Gladbach, Inter knew they had to take three points back from Ukraine this week as they next had a double header with group favorites Real Madrid.
They were unlucky not to bring all three back as both Niccolò Barella and Romelu Lukaku hit the woodwork and Lautaro Martinez inexplicably missed an open goal.
However, we need to look at the bigger picture.
What’s the point of qualifying for the Champions League in order to land in the Europa League?
Inter are at risk of becoming a new Sevilla except that Sevilla actually win the Europa League.
The Nerazzuri now have to take at least one win against Madrid and beat Shakhtar and Gladbach to be sure they will make progress. Since they haven’t beaten the latter two yet, that’s a big question.
To re-establish itself at the top end of European football, which their spending signals, the club will have to hit at least the last eight, which looks difficult now.
Stefano Sensi injured again
Stefano Sensi started on fire last season. His performances have been too high and to be honest, Antonio Conte has not found anyone in his absence to replace his connection between midfield and attack.
His loan from Sassuolo was repaid in the summer, with Inter paying € 25m to keep him permanently.
His only contribution this season, however, has been a gentle goodbye against Lazio and he’s back on the treatment table where he spent most of last season.
Given his poor injury record, the decision to sign him permanently remains an interesting one.
Sensi has so far posed a serious question mark about whether or not it’s worth buying it, and for now, its recent setback proves it might not be the best idea.
Ivan Perisic is not a full-back
The Croatian is playing at the moment simply because of his heroics, which he loaned out from Bayern Munich last season.
Conte just doesn’t take into account that the second Ivan Perisic, who dons blue and black, will lose around 25% of all his football skills unless he joins Mauro Icardi.
Perisic and Inter needed a clean break in the summer but with Bayern unwilling to pay his loan purchase clause and having given his form for Bayern it is understandable that Inter gave him another shot.
He’s just not defensive enough to return wings, however, and his threat of attack was low to zero as he had to be constantly up and down.
While Inter run out of money to spend and thought it was worth a try, it’s now an area of the pitch that needs upgrading. Until then, Ashley Young has to start there.
The attacking midfielder puzzle
This problem never seems to go away.
Christian Eriksen had some valuable playing time this week but it almost looked like he was a square pin in a round hole and he was struggling to connect with his teammates.
Conte tried Barella in the role but the youngster is much better served further back as all the action displays help end the game and he’s not a threat to goal.
One man who might be able to solve this problem is Radja Nainggolan.
The Belgian is definitely an Inter player until at least January and he looked sharp when he faced Genoa.
Nainggolan is really the type of player that Conte should have on paper in this role as he is so well rounded. His ability to pause the game and attack with tenacity makes him versatile and he’s over 30 years old which satisfies the manager’s need for experience.
Perhaps starting the role against Parma this weekend could give us a better idea of whether Nainggolan could do the job.
The Antonio Conte Gamble shows its ugly side again
By far the highest-paid coach in Serie A was supported by Suning and Inter as a club more than any other coach in the last decade.
His trophy-laden reputation has given him mercury status that has earned him the right to a top job like Inter.
However, his over-trust and constant demand for older players or “his” players can cost Inter in the long run if they are unsuccessful.
Inter looked like title contenders and should have won the league last season, but they haven’t stopped this year.
They also look like they’ll fight in the Champions League too.
Both statements stink of lack of improvement, although Conte asked about Arturo Vidal and Aleksandar Kolarov.
Conte has to get this team to shoot, otherwise he and the club will have balls on their faces.
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