The near year long Serie A season is now complete. In a strange year that has been interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, there has been no shortage of talking points.
Antonio Conte has led Inter to a second place finish in Serie A, a point behind champions Juventus, which is their best season since the Treble winning year.
Inter finished off their year this week with a 2-0 win over Napoli and a victory away at Atalanta by the same score line.
Two impressive results meant that Inter finished clear of Atalanta and Lazio below them and much closer to Juventus than what was forecasted a few weeks previous.
This season has been a success. It has also been a season of slight frustration as a slight more consistency would have seen the Nerazzuri win the Scudetto.
However, the season isn’t done yet as the Europa League is still there to play for but judging by what’s gone on over the past few days, who knows what’s going to pan out. Here’s what we know this week..
Antonio Conte’s Latest Rant May Be 1 Step Too Far For Suning
Antonio Conte has never shied away from the spotlight or from the media whether it be his time as a player or a manager.
More than anything in the world he loves a good rant and rave and this weekend was his biggest so far whilst in the manager’s chair at the blue and black side of San Siro.
After Inter’s second place finish was confirmed, Conte unleashed an attack on the club for not protecting him and his players from the media’s scrutiny.
He highlighted that if this issue cannot be solved he may have to contemplate his future. This will be of concern to Suning who see Conte as a key cog in the machinery but they don’t appear to be happy with him dragging the club’s hierarchy into the media mud.
This situation could get worse and it appears a discussion between Conte and the Inter higher ups is set to take place. This threatens Inter’s chances of success in the Europa League and creates an element of concern about the manager’s long term position which has been highlighted by the media linking Max Allegri with the job.
This is classic Conte and it reeks of his departure from Juve. Surely lightning can’t strike twice.
Ashley Young Is Worth Another 12 months
The rhetoric with Ashley Young is that he’s come into the side with zero expectation given his age and low fee.
However, bar a couple of games where he was shown his age, he has been excellent.
His goal away at Atalanta was his fourth since joining in January putting him ahead of Alexis Sanchez for goals and he has also added four assists.
Compare his output with Christian Eriksen who arrived in January also and you have a strange case of looking back and thinking how has that happened.
Young may be approaching his mid thirties but he would be a cheap option to keep for next year and he offers versatility. Get him signed up for another year!
Best Season In Serie A Without Winning The League Since Start Of 3 Point Era
This season has been a success, that cannot be denied.
If you compare Inter’s year to the past ten it outshines them beyond belief and even with this Conte nonsense going on, it’s hard to see Inter moving anywhere but away from the dark days of 2011-2017.
Inter’s draws cost them the title but their only defeats came against Juve, Lazio and that dodgy 2-1 reversal at home to Bologna.
It’s easy to pick and dissect where Inter went wrong this term with a feeling that they probably could’ve ended Juve’s run at the top but let us take a step back.
This year has been excellent as it’s been great to see Inter have something to aim for and the squad that is being built is one that plans on going that one step further.
Romelu Lukaku’s Debut Season Had Inter Fans Going Mauro Icardwho
Romelu Lukaku has been a qualified success. Twenty three Serie A goals in his debut campaign is a record but let us not underestimate the job he had of replacing Mauro Icardi.
Icardi, love him or loathe him, has been Inter’s best player in the barren years. He was Inter’s only true quality player and his goals got Inter out of a huge mess at times. He should have gone down as an Inter great and spent the next ten years captaining the Nerazzuri on their return to the top but for obvious reasons it didn’t pan out that way.
In contrast, Inter now have a selfless figure wearing nine who speaks only in the media to praise the team and his coach. He speaks the language, he represents the club with dignity and he’s a quality player.
Long live Lukaku as our number nine.
Winning The Europa League Must Be The Objective
Let us forget all the off pitch hullabaloo for now and focus on the straight football.
Inter face Getafe next in their pursuit of the Europa League title and it is fair to say that the draw gives them a real chance of winning European silverware.
Victory over the Spanish side lands them a place in the quarters against either Rangers or Bayer Leverkusen. Both sides are certainly beatable.
Should Inter surpass those two hurdles, a semi-final slot would see them take on either Basel, last year’s nemesis Frankfurt, Wolfsburg or Shakhtar Donestk.
A run to the final isn’t beyond this team where they would most likely find themselves against Manchester United, Roma or Sevilla.
A tiring Serie A schedule may take its toll on the squad but a straight knockout format in a short period gives them a chance.
Inter must rest up and really go at this as it represents further to the footballing world that they mean business and intend to make their way back from the doldrums of Walter Mazzarri and Andrea Stramaccioni.