It’s official – Roberto Mancini comes back to Inter for his second spell.
Inter fans are expressing mixed feelings everywhere – those of us who are older perhaps remembers some of the flaws of Roberto Mancini more clearly than the more recent fans. Among the issues, repeated selections of people he considered to be ‘friends’ was one of the most persistent ones. At the same time, Roberto Mancini is a man who isn’t afraid to really give people a try. He is probably the manager under whom Mario Balotelli has best performed, ever, and he saw him through a time where Inter could probably not even spell youth prospect, into one of the best Mario’s we’ve ever seen.
So, what do we have to say about Roberto Mancini’s upcoming spell at Inter? For one, I expect to see him develop a strong, solid team, compact and defensive. But then, as I write that, it strikes me that I said something very similar about his predecessor. I do expect an immediate reversal back to a flat back 4, where Vidic will be given another chance to shine. What is undoubtedly true is that Roberto Mancini is also a man who does like his consistent teams, and his veterans.
Dejan Stankovic, an Inter Legend and Roberto Mancini favourite
One thing that I think it is very important to consider before we launch into a discussion on Roberto Mancini is quite how different football is now. He doesn’t have a wide range of players whom he played with to call upon, nor does he have any particular favourites in Italian football, having been absent from it for a few years now. He also comes into a team which has, for better or worse, been significantly refreshed in the last few years, particularly this window, with youngsters like Mauro Icardi, Matteo Kovacic, Dodo, all coming through.
One somewhat irrelevant aspect I do also want to discuss briefly, is Erick Thohir. His responsiveness to fans in the last few months has been interesting – with sacking Walter Mazzarri clearly at least partially due to fan pressure (or else he would have been gone immediately after the previous game) – and the way he dealt with Guarin/Vucinic (which I’m also sure was partially a set up to get rid of Branca).
So, the story of Roberto Mancini in my opinion is one of slightly managing expectations. I have seen people say that he is a poor coach who is under the standard of Inter – and to them, I can only ask, what world do you live in? Roberto Mancini is by no means in the top tier of coaches internationally – talking about people like Guardiola, Mourinho, etc. But at the same time, he’s no failure. He’s a good coach, and to be honest, one better than we deserve right now. He should be at a smaller Champions League club, and instead he’s come back to deliver.
Given some of the failures we’ve had recently – where we have promoted lesser coaches to a bigger role, it’s about time we got a bigger coach into a lesser role. The last time we did that, with Jose Mourinho, I would say it ended well.
On a post script sidetrack, I’m also keen to see the impact on the youth. I know I have presented a somewhat conflicted story above – Roberto Mancini debuted something like 26 youth players in his previous time at Inter, but outside of Mario Balotelli rarely did they ever get a real chance for the club – but I think with our youth clearly significantly better now than under his previous tenure, things could get interesting.
Plus, what happened the last time he had a 17 year old striker who had a lot of potential?