I thought I might post a few thoughts in relation to our game against Torino.
Admittedly, I was nervous about this one. I am not sure if the commentators got this right but Inter had apparently failed to win against Torino in five years. Accordingly, my anxiousness about this game was therefore well justified.
The game was delayed due to heavy rainfall. Right at the beginning of the telecast there was a suggestion by the commentators that the match might even have been postponed. The first thoughts I had upon seeing the pitch was that it was going the be a difficult game and that we would not be able to play in our usual fashion. I also thought that playing on a heavy rain trodden pitch could impact our preparation for our midweek fixture against Slavia Prague. The last thought I had was in relation to injuries in that the conditions were perfect for our already limited starting eleven to incur further injuries.
There were no real surprises in the starting eleven given that Asamoah, Sensi and Gagliardini were all unavailable. The line-up selected by Conte was to be expected given our limited options. One of the first thoughts I had was to do with our game against Torino was with matches that we had played in the past in poor conditions. Horribly disjointed matches came to mind where the football was miserable to watch and it felt like we were waiting for something to click, for our game to come together or an individual moment of brilliant to separate us from our opponents. In the game against Torino, despite the fact that it was not pretty, it was great to see that the team had changed tactics and were not trying to impose and play the game they would ordinarily play in normal conditions in the belting Turin rain.
When I saw Martinez break forward to score our first goal, I was in disbelief. His pace surprised me, especially given the fact the pitch was so wet. He had a lot of work to do to score that goal and he put it away with great composure. The esteem I have for Martinez grows with every passing game and I am grateful that Conte plays with two upfront because we actually get to see him play as opposed to wasting on the bench as Icardi’s understudy.
I appreciated Lukaku’s work rate and efforts throughout the game. I am glad that he scored but was a little disappointed that he did not nail a header that was hit straight at the keeper as well as the shot that just went past the post after his goal. In relation to the latter opportunity, he may have slipped just as he was taking the shot. Having said that, I think it is important to acknowledge the effort he puts in and the fact that in such trying conditions he was also dropping back to assist his teammates.
I thought our defence was relatively solid and appreciate the saves that were made by Handanovic. I was pleased that D’Ambrosio was back not so much for his performance during the game but the fact that he provided us with another option or greater depth. In relation to his game, there were a few occasions when he had to chase back and looked as though he was really struggling in terms of fitness. Pretty standard for a player that was that had been injured for an extended period.
Given the conditions, I thought our midfield put in a good shift. In terms of player performance , I do not think there were any midfield standouts. Collectively, they just put their heads down and played for the team. Barella’s injury was the worst part of this game and I could not help but wonder how serious it was and how it would place an even greater strain on a squad that is already thin in the midfield department. I also realised how much I have come to respect Barella in the short amount of time that he has been at the club. His work rate and range of passing are phenomenal and his absence from the starting eleven is going to be very difficult to try and plug. I guess the thought I had is whether Agoume can be called up to try and make a contribution and help us.
I thought I might end this post on a positive note. For once, it was really nice to walk away from a game against Torino with a result. We beat them convincingly and for once, Walter and his players were unable to deny us a win and three points.