Inter versus Torino was the classic game where one team dominates possession, but fails to create too many clear-cut opportunities and then gets dealt a late sucker punch and are left wondering how they could have possibly lost that match.
Roberto Mancini described his team’s first defeat in seven games as ‘cruel’: “I think we played the right way today. One failing was that we didn’t create enough movement around their penalty box. Football can be a cruel game, but there’s nothing we can do about it. I think we’re on the right track.”
Inter fans will feel that they have heard the words ‘but we’re on the right track’ too many times over the past few years to have much faith in them. However, the Nerazzurri’s activities off the pitch, their recent signings and the words of Inter President Erick Thohir in a recent interview suggest that they may be more than just lip-service.
Ever since taking over, Thohir has gone about his job as President of a big club like Inter in a quiet yet decisive manner. When called upon, he has shown his ability to make the tough calls and also get on with things, namely in the infamous Vucinic–Guarin saga last year and in the wake of Massimo Moratti’s resignation as Honorary President.
His primary objective has always been to fix Inter’s finances and this has seen the Nerazzurri bring in the likes of Michael Bolingbroke as CEO, successful at Manchester United, with a view to increasing revenue streams. “We’re focusing on the business side of things, as well as the sporting aspect. We have a great Coach in Mancini, so why not bring in a great CEO? Well, that’s what we’ve done.”
There was also another addition to the squad this week as Marcelo Brozovic became the third signing of January, with the 22-year old Croatian joining Inter on a two-year loan deal from Dinamo Zagreb, following in the footsteps of Mateo Kovacic. The midfielder was present in the San Siro stands against the Granata, and he brings an additional quality in the middle of the park.
Inter’s robust transfer dealings have made many speculate that if the team fails to qualify for the Champions League, they will be in serious trouble with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations without the additional revenue from competing in Europe’s premier club competition. The Neraz明升888zurri are already being investigated by the governing body, but Thohir feels they have nothing to worry about.
“It’s interesting to see that people form their opinions on the basis of rumours. Without the Champions League, we can achieve revenue of €180m-€200m. If we qualified for the Champions League, that would obviously increase but it wouldn’t be a problem for Inter if we didn’t qualify. However, given that we’re a leading brand in football and have a huge fan base, we have to aim high.”
One of Thohir’s stated objectives since the day he took over has been to bring the average age of the team down. From a business angle it makes sense too as upcoming players don’t command the same salaries as more established stars. And in the exception of Lukas Podolski’s loan arrival this month, the German reportedly agreed to take a wage-cut to join in after being impressed with Roberto Mancini’s plans.
“We want to build the team and improve the average age of our squad, which is currently 26.5. That’s why we need young players like Mateo Kovacic, Mauro Icardi and now Shaqiri: they’re our future. I think we have even more young players to develop, such as Juan Jesus and Dodo. We’re also fully committed to our Primavera players, such as Bonazzoli.”
The days of an ageing Inter side are now long gone, and they have the right man to guide a young team in Roberto Mancini. Unlike his predecessor Walter Mazzarri, Mancio has always been open to young talent and already Marco Andreolli and Danilo D’Ambrosio are seeing more playing time. In addition, Primavera players like Isaac Donkor and Federico Bonazzoli have become regular fixtures hg娱乐棋牌on the bench.
Thohir himself believes that they have the right man in charge now: “Building a team is not something you can do in a year or two – it takes longer than that. That's why we need Roberto Mancini. He has managed新二娱乐网 foreign clubs so has a universal vision of the game. Sometimes, results force you to take difficult decisions, such as the call we made on Mazzarri.”
Third place lies 10 points away and with the Nerazzurri sitting in joint ninth spot, it will be a hard slog for the team to get themselves back in contention. With a new look side coming together with a new style it might be that this team peaks towards the end of the current season. Thankfully then for Mancini while he needs 18 perfect games in Serie A to get a Champions League spot, he needs just nine more to prioritise reaching the same competition via the Europa League.