In case you missed the epic story lines from the Derby you can check them out here, because in the next two posts I plan to flesh them out a bit as we draw closer to what should be billed as the biggest match in Serie A if not all of Europe. With title implications and a chance for Milan to take back their rightful spot as the best team in Milan anybody saying this match is not decisive or means little is simply glossing over the obvious. So where do we start? No better place than with Judas and Inter.
I had always been a bit hard on Leonardo when was Coach of AC Milan. Sure he had to deal with the likes of Ronaldinho, KJH, and even a clearly finished Mancini, and in his defense he certainly didn’t have the team at his disposal to make a whole lot of noise in Serie A. The thing is despite his apparent shortcomings he had this team in first place and instead of rolling up his sleeves and digging in his heels, he let it unravel faster than your first long-distance relationship. When this team needed some tactics and balance Leo simply looked to be a man confused unable to reshape the team to achieve the goal at hand, which at times was as simple as retaining a lead. Had Milan kept the wide-eyed bushy haired Brazilian at the helm for this season and you have to wonder if he would have instilled the balance and defensive posture that has helped Milan onto first place, granted this is hypothesizing, but I have a niggling feeling we would be somewhere around fourth place wondering why we dropped so many close games.
Either way that era of Milan is over, thankfully it was short, but now he is Inter’s problem, but is he really that much of a problem? The first and most important to understand is that Inter is, was, and forever will be a Jose Mourinho team. When Jose leaves a team he leaves it with a tenacious sense of balance, and the willingness of all eleven players to work as one to achieve a common goal. These are not traits that simply disappear, and while Rafa clearly found a way to “lose them” Leo has used Mourinho’s ghost to his advantage and glossed over his own defensive naivety to his advantage. I mean anyone ever wonder why Avram Grant almost won a CL with a Jose team?? Simply because he took over for a man that truly builds a team from top to bottom and leaves them in perfect order for the right man in charge, sorry Rafa.
So what makes Leo’s Inter so different from Leo’s Milan? It starts with personnel; players like Motta, Stankovic, and Cambiasso are far more versatile than the one trick midfield ponies of AC Milan. Not to mention he has attacking players like Sneijder, Eto, Pandev, Milito, and even Pazzini who are willing to put in the work needed to have enough balance to achieve a result, whereas Leo’s Milan never truly had this edge. Imagine for a moment the likes of Ronaldinho, Pato and KJH putting in the herculean effort of Eto, Pandev, and Milito in the CL Final. If you are struggling to do so, it is probably because you can’t!
So what you have now is a Coach, who only knows how to attack, in charge of a team who has a great idea on how to defend, a match made in heaven? Not so much, just a good fit at the right time to get Inter rolling for a showdown with AC Milan. I don’t expect much out of Leo in the Derby, he has employed a 4-2-3-1 type formation of late and I would expect the same sort of deployment if not closer to a 4-3-3 in order to attack Milan. He has the personnel to do either, but it will be up to Allegri to counter Leo’s attacking mentality something we will cover on Friday’s final preview post…