End of Season Review: Inter’s Report Card From the 2017/18 Campaign

It’s been an up and down season for Inter. After a stellar start to the campaign, winning eight of their first ten matches and going undefeated in the league until December, it looked as if Luciano Spalletti’s first season in charge would be a hugely successful one.

Their league form tailed off, but Inter overcame Lazio on the final day of the season  to qualify for the Champions League in dramatic fashion.

A poor domestic cup showing thrown in means there is work yet to be done at the Nerazzurri.

1. League Performance

Inter started the season on fire. Eight wins in their first ten games left them looking as if they may be the side to break Juventus’ stranglehold on the division. But a Christmas capitulation, coupled with recent defeats to Sassuolo and Torino, meant they faced a struggle to qualify for the Champions League.

However, while Napoli inherited the responsibility of being the side to take the challenge to Juventus when it once looked like it would be Inter giving the Old Lady a run for their money, it shouldn’t be forgotten that this season represents progress. Inter have shown some highly promising signs.

After a seventh placed finish last season, they eventually finished fourth this campaign, above city and stadium rivals AC Milan. If Inter can cut out some of the inconsistency and dropped points that harpooned their prospective title challenge this season, their domestic future could be bright.

2. Domestic Cup Performance

Inter’s Coppa Italia campaign began as their league season appeared to be coming off the rails, and this showed in their performances as they just about squeezed past Serie C side Pordenone on penalties in the round of 16, and followed it up with a 1-0 quarter final defeat to AC Milan.

To reach only the quarter finals after entering at the last 16 stage is, on paper, an average performance at best. When you consider the meek fashion in which they bowed out to their bitter rivals, their cup performance leaves a lot of room for improvement.

3. Best Player

This one is academic. Talismanic captain Mauro Icardi has scored 29 goals in Serie A this campaign, more than any Inter player has since Antonio Angelillo in 1959, and is undoubtedly the most influential player in the Nerazzuri ranks.

If Inter are to go a step further and challenge at the head of the division in 2018/19, keeping hold of the 25-year-old is crucial, but after fending off interest from all over Europe last summer, it’s hard to imagine it will be an easy task.

4. Worst Player

It may seem harsh to pin the worst player tag on a 19-year-old, but after Yann Karamoh joined from Caen last summer and added to the buzz around him with a tremendous strike in his first start against Bologna, the Ivorian winger has flattered to deceive.

It should be noted that clearly he has the potential to become a very good player, but after a frustrating season in which he has failed to make the substantial impression he was tipped for in his handful of starts, perhaps a loan move is the way forward for the highly rated teenager.

5. The Manager

The Nerazzuri’s immediate managerial history has been somewhat turbulent, with Roberto Mancini’s two year spell between 2014 and 2016 the longest a manager has stayed in place since Jose Mourinho. Luciano Spalletti perhaps has reason to believe he will be the man to buck the trend.

The ambition when he came in was to get Inter back into the Champions League, and by December, with Inter undefeated and at the top of Serie A, the former Roma manager looked as if he was cruising beyond expectations in his first season.

They have tailed off, but have still guaranteed a return to the top four at the first time of asking under their new boss. Inter should, and look as if they are willing to be patient and give Spalletti a chance to build on the successes and failures of his first season in charge.

6. Overall Grade

After such a relentlessly promising start to the season, it would be hard as an Inter fan not to feel at least slightly deflated at the fourth placed finish. What’s perhaps most worrying is the inconsistency that has so often plagued them in recent years reared its head in the second half of the season and cost them a genuine title challenge.

However, it is easy to get hung up on the negatives. Some of the football Inter have played this campaign has been nothing short of phenomenal, and prior to Christmas, they looked as if they had the gusto to go on and become one of the great Italian teams. That level of class doesn’t just disappear.

If they get the recruitment right this summer and hold on to the core of their squad (Icardi!), the future could be very bright indeed for the Nerazzuri.

Overall Grade: B

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Inter Defender Hails ‘Insane’ Comeback Win Against Lazio as Manager Luciano Spalletti Snubs Media

?Inter manager Luciano Spalletti refused to give any post-match interviews after his side’s ?stunning comeback win over Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday evening. I Nerazzurri netted two quick goals late in the second half to overturn a 2-1 deficit and leapfrog their hosts into fourth place in Serie A, thus qualifying for the UEFA Champions League at Lazio’s expense.

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According to the ?Passione Inter website, Spalletti left his players with the responsibility of speaking to the media – which at least three of them were happy to do.

Defender Andrea Ranocchia, who came on as a late substitute, hailed his side’s achievement in what he called an ‘insane match’. Speaking to Mediaset Premium, and ?quoted by Football Italia, Ranocchia said:


“I would’ve come on for that late corner even if there hadn’t been a substitution. I felt good, I felt it was the night. I had to come on and take part. It was an insane match, but we achieved something fundamental.”

Ranocchia was full of praise both for Sunday’s opponents and especially for his own side, whom he hailed as ‘real men’: “Lazio are such a strong side and proved it again this evening, but we believed from start to finish,” he said, adding:

“First and foremost, before being players, we are men and that is what’s important. This Inter is full of real men.”


The Inter defender also hailed his side’s fans: “We have a rapport with the fans that few other sides in the world can boast. This is the reward for them believing in us, even when we lost our way and seemed to be out of the running.”

Captain Mauro Icardi and defender Joao Cancelo were also quoted by Football Italia after speaking to Mediaset Premium. ?Cancelo praised his ‘splendid’ side, while ?Icardi said: “Lazio play well, but we showed strength and desire to turn the result around.”

?Like Lazio manager Simone Inzaghi, Icardi also rejected the notion that Stefan De Vrij’s pending move to Inter may have influenced his performance, in which he conceded the penalty from which the Argentine levelled the match:


“All players are professionals, I don’t think he fouled me on purpose. He tried to stop me scoring, it was just destiny,” said Icardi – echoing Inzaghi, who also attributed his side’s loss to ‘destiny’.

Perhaps worryingly for Inter fans, neither Cancelo nor Icardi committed their future to the Milanese club, ?with the striker heavily linked with a move away from the San Siro.

Cancelo – currently on loan from Valencia – said his future was ‘up to the two clubs and what they decide’, while Icardi – whose penalty put him level with Lazio’s Ciro Immobile in the race for the Capocannoniere – said diplomatically: “We’ll talk with the club and do what is best for Inter.”

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Lazio 2-3 Inter: Stunning Inter Comeback Breaks Lazio Hearts & Seals Champions League Qualification

?Inter will be playing Champions League football next season, after a stunning comeback win over Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico. An Ivan Perisic own goal and a brilliant team goal finished by Felipe Anderson were rendered irrelevant by goals from Danilo D’Ambrosio, Mauro Icardi and Matias Vecino.

For neutrals as well as Inter and Lazio fans, this was surely the most hotly-anticipated fixture of the final weekend of the Serie A season, being essentially a play-off for the fourth available Champions League place. The atmosphere at the Stadio Olimpico was electric with anticipation – and, unless you were a Lazio fan, the match didn’t disappoint.

After a bright start by Inter, with Perisic looking dangerous down the left, Lazio missed an absolute sitter when Luis Felipe blazed over the bar from close range after good work by Ciro Immobile. Then the hosts struck a devastating blow in the ninth minute, when a misdirected shot by Adam Marusic from the right wickedly deflected off Perisic past Samir Handanovic, who stayed rooted to the spot.


It was harsh on Inter, and especially on Handanovic, who had made a fine save moments earlier from a Sergej Milinkovic-Savic shot. And yet, although the visitors showed excellent passing accuracy and movement in midfield, they failed to carve out clear chances.

In the 22nd minute, Lazio did Inter’s work for them by giving the ball away cheaply in their own half, and Mauro Icardi had a clear run on goal. Unfortunately for I Nerazzurri, he missed the kind of opportunity he’s been taking with aplomb all season, scuffing his shot harmlessly wide.

In fact, the two rivals for the Capocannoniere, Icardi and Immobile, both looked some way short of their best. Although the Lazio striker had been passed fit, he certainly didn’t look it. It was no surprise when he was substituted in the second half.


With the two sides’ star strikers failing, the goals came from less likely sources. Shortly before the half-hour mark, Inter’s Danilo D’Ambrosio forced home a corner by the impressive Marcelo Brozovic, having been left unmarked by Immobile.

Then, in the 41st minute, Felipe Anderson started and finished a majestic counter-attacking move, bursting forward at least 100 yards before sliding a nonchalant finish past Handanovic.

Things looked bleak enough for Inter at half-time, but it could have been even worse – Milinkovic-Savic hit the woodwork with a superb free kick, and also forced a save from Handanovic with a ferocious drive.

SS Lazio v FC Internazionale - Serie A

?Inter had to throw caution to the wind in the second half, and Perisic played alongside Icardi as a second striker. The Croat made a number of intelligent runs, battled for every ball and occasionally threatened the Lazio goal – but he failed to make a decisive breakthrough.

Seemingly realising that this tactic wasn’t working, Luciano Spalletti brought on Eder for the disappointing Antonio Candreva, and Perisic moved back out wide. Yet Lazio still looked likelier to extend their lead than to concede, and Anderson wasted a presentable chance to double his tally by firing into the side netting.

Just as it looked as if Inter’s Champions League hopes were fading away, they were handed a lifeline. Having been controversially denied a penalty earlier in the half after review by the VAR, the referee had no doubt about Stefan de Vrij’s clumsy challenge on Icardi. The Argentine made no mistake in the 78th minute, equalling the 29 Serie A goals scored by Immobile, who could only look on helplessly.


Soon afterwards, a nervous situation for the hosts turned into a catastrophe, as Senad Lulic received a second yellow card for a reckless foul. A hotly-contested encounter had seen a flurry of cautions, so it was no surprise to see a player dismissed. Nevertheless, Lulic must have been kicking himself for committing such a pointless challenge in a fairly innocuous situation.

Then, in the 81st minute, Vecino headed home from a corner to send Inter into raptures, and Lazio into desperation. Lazio piled on the pressure, but it was all to no avail. Inter celebrated in disbelieving joy, while the hosts must have wondered how they had managed to throw away what looked like a comfortable position.

Lazio boss Simone Inzaghi will likely face tough questions about his late substitutions including the removal of Immobile, which seemed to unsettle his side and give Inter momentum, while Spalletti can prepare for Inter’s return to European football’s elite next season.


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Man Utd Offered Former West Ham Star by Super Agent Ahead of Expected Summer Switch

?Joao Mario has been offered to ?Manchester United following his impressive loan spell at ?West Ham, according to reports in Italy. 

The Inter loanee brought an end to his temporary stay at the London Stadium with another solid showing, rounding off a string of fine performances for the Hammers during ?their 3-1 win over Everton on the final day of the season.

Since then, Red Devils boss Jose Mourinho has been outspoken regarding his appreciation of the 25-year-old, who will be heading to Russia this summer as part of Portugal’s international set up. 

And according to Italian news outlet ?FcInterNews.it, United have been offered the chance to snap up the midfielder by super agent Kia Joorabchian this summer – with the Nerazzurri setting their price at around £22m to £26m to strike a deal. 

Despite the ?Serie A giants being prepared to wait until how Fernando Santos’ side fare at the World Cup, a season-long loan with an obligation to buy has also been mooted. 

West Ham United v Southampton - Premier League

However, Mourinho is not the only boss Joorabchian is said to be in contact with, with La Liga outfit Valencia as well as West Ham also in the frame. 

It is thought that should the east Londoners land their key managerial target, former ?Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini, in the coming days, and the Chilean gives the green light, Mario may well be heading back to the London Stadium after the player admitted his happiness during his spell at the club. 

During his 13 games after the January transfer window, the Portuguese midfielder scored two goals and provided one assist for David Moyes’ men in their successful bid for Premier League safety. 

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Jose Mourinho Hoping to Add Former Inter Colleague to Manchester United Coaching Staff

?Jose Mourinho is preparing to reshuffle his backroom staff at Old Trafford this summer, and is looking to a figure from his past to join him.

That man, according to the Mail, is Stefano Rapetti. Rapetti worked as a fitness coach at ?Inter during Mourinho’s time in charge there between 2008 and 2010.

Chelsea v Manchester United - The Emirates FA Cup Final

The Italian is currently working at Sampdoria, but is leaving at the end of the season to link up with the ?Manchester United manager once again. When Mourinho arrived in Milan, Rapetti was in charge of the Inter Under-19 setup, but was then promoted to a fitness coach in the first team.

He will also be adding Michael Carrick to his backroom team, alongside current Under-18 coach Kieran McKenna.

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With current assistant manager Rui Faria set to leave the club to pursue his own career in management, Mourinho will be eager to replace his long term associate. Mourinho first hired Faria after he took over at União de Leiria in Portugal, and the two have worked together ever since, with Faria following him to Porto, ?Chelsea, Milan, ?Madrid and Manchester.

When asked by the Portuguese media about who would be replacing Faria alongside him in the dugout at Old Trafford, Mourinho said: “It’s a person coming who worked with me before but I can’t say the name because he’s still linked to another club. 

“Michael Carrick becomes a coach on the pitch but I’m looking for two new people on the team. Good coaches there are many, but I like to make my assistants. I do not like trained coaches, I like to shape them in my way of thinking and they grow with me and I also grow with them.”

Faria’s last game at Manchester United saw his side lose 1-0 to Chelsea in the FA Cup final, and Mourinho will be eager to organise his backroom staff as soon as possible ahead of a busy summer. 

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