So, after last night, I feel it is right I did an article on the perennial problem at Inter. Seeing people argue about what player we need, etc, is kind of shocking. Because it's really obvious.
Let us first address the problem
For many years now at Inter, infact arguably going back to when I first started supporting Inter, but certainly over the last 7 years or so (barring one season), we've had one big problem. And that is simply put. No ball playing midfielder.
Under Mancini, 3 DMs and an AMC (generally in Veron/Jimenez/Stankovic), we relied alot of individual brilliance to score goals. Mourinho in his first season reverted to such a formation after the disaster of his first attempted trident - where the wingers were too lazy and useless to track back, or offer any offensive support. Its only once we get to Mourinho season 2, with the signing of Thiago Motta, to we even begin to address this problem. Some may point to the signing of Lucio as a big impact - and an impact it did have, but it was Motta more than anything. Since then, inconsistencies, poor formations, and the sale of Motta have resulted in a regression to the style we saw more under Mancini.
Playing two, or three even, midfield destroyers is asking for trouble. We currently play as if everyone is panicked, as last night's offensives by Torino perfectly summed it up. A few members thought Gargano was superb. The truth is, far from it. The problem with midfielders is that - especially in the role of the destroyer - most of the work you look for are not things you easily get recognition for. The pressing of the opponents, the closing down of spaces, tracking runs. It's easy not to put a foot wrong when you don't bother to try to do any of those things. Our midfield was consistently passed through time and time again against Torino. So much so that we would have literally made no difference if we had taken off the midfield 4.
People can blame tactics, formation, the coach, etc, as much as they want. But that is the simple truth. No team in the world plays with so many destroyers, nor with such an invisible midfield. You need to slow down the opponent attacks, make them feel under pressure, or else the mistakes don't come.
Simply put, all four midfielders (or five, depending how you count it really) were utterly pathetic. I would honestly hope to see none of them in an Inter shirt again, especially not in midfield. They offered nothing defensively, nothing offensively, and very poor in possession too.
Which leads us to the problem, and its solution. Look at the impact one Marco Benassi had in the midfield on his debut. The entire shape changes. The team feel confident of retaining the ball when attacking, which means you can afford to throw more than one player into the box. Everything is different. You need a ball playing midfielder - not necessarily a director, or a playmaker, but someone who is confident on the ball, can collect it from deep, and will complete most of his passes. They generally team up perfectly alongside a more classical destroyer - the Cambiasso & Motta duo showed us this well. Pirlo & Gattuso do, too. Makelele & Zidane, take your pick. The partnership is exactly that. A classic one.
The destroyer needs only complete a short simple pass to the regista, who can then direct and shape the team from there. Until we address this problem, we will have a nothing midfield, who turn the ball over when in possession, who negatively affect our counter attacking, and shape the team up badly.
You might now be tempted to ask, "Well, what does a regista have to do with our defensive phase?"... It's actually quite simple. When you have someone who is lethal with the up-field pass - and not someone who the opponents can rely on passing it straight to their keeper, or out of bounds - you have to be careful. Your players have to be more careful, you have to sit back a bit more, you can't commit as many people to the attack as you would like. Whilst the opponents realize we have no confidence in our midfield, they don't even bother with trying to take care of that. They know they are exclusively in control of the game until THEY lose the ball, not until WE take it from them.
One player could fix all of Inter's problems - I dont buy that the attack is as big of an issue, nor the defense.
But, sadly, this has been the story for at least 6 or 7 years now, and there are no signs of us attempting to solve it.
The other truth, of course, is that with 6 coaches in 3 seasons, over 140 million invested, and worsening performance year on year, we show no signs of delivering any real improvement. We aren't a team with a game plan, we aren't a team with the ability to impose ourselves.
Maybe its time to say, "Well, why haven't we signed a regista yet?" - and for that, you need to look far above the coach.