Champions League loss to Bayern Munich turns up the pressure on Inter Milan’s Simone Inzaghi

MilaneseInter Milan needed a change after losing the Derby della Madonnina against AC Milan last Saturday. It wasn’t just that the team lost, but rather the way Inter seemed to fold against their crosstown rivals, more than the actual result against AC Milan. Simone Inzaghi decided to make some important changes for the team’s Champions League opener against Bayern Munich. And while Inzaghi’s lineup might have changed, looking at the result, not much was different. It was another defeat for the Nerazzurri, losing 2-0 to Bayern Munich. It’s the third of the season overall, after one against Lazio and AC Milan. The main questions here are about the future: where to go from now for Inzaghi? How much time does he have to keep his job?

Inzaghi’s lineup changes

Inter made some important moves to bring new faces into the starting eleven. Captain Samir Handanovic was benched by Inzaghi and new signing Andre Onana made his official debut with his new club. Onana played quite well, despite one uncertain moment in the second half. Overall his performance was positive against Bayern Munich and there wasn’t much he could do on either of Bayern’s goals. Danilo D’Ambrosio started as well instead of Stefan de Vrijwhich meant Milan Skriniar slid into the center of Inter’s back three in defense. D’Ambrosio is not the same level of individual defender Skriniar is as an outside center back but he didn’t play particularly badly, despite the fact that he scored an own goal.

Inzaghi’s other change, in midfield, is where the real problem is. Inter are suffering and lacking quality right now so Inzaghi made a controversial decision was to bench Nicolò Barella, who, to be fair, is not in a good run of form, and decided to play with Mkhitaryan as central midfielder with Brozovic and Calhanoglu. The former Borussia Dortmund player tried to impose his rhythm on the match, and his experience helped a lot in the second half to keep the game settled, but it was not enough.

On the left side Robin Gosens finally started, but he’s a different player to the one that took the field for Atalanta two years ago before injuries slowed him down. Inter Milan lost Ivan Perisic this season when the Croatian player decided to join Tottenham as a free agent. Perisic was probably the best player of the past season, and his loss is why Inter are lacking in offensive options this year. Inzaghi made some choices that didn’t work out against Bayern Munich, but that’s not the main problem.

What is worrying is that those changes did not seem to happen with an overall plan in mind. It mostly seemed to be about the physical conditions of Barella and De Vrij. He doesn’t seem to be planning for the long term. And while it’s true that those physical issues need to be addressed, there needs to be a plan for how this team will improve and reliably compete at the top of the table,

Question of time

How much time does Inzaghi still have? This question needs to be taken seriously now, especially because of the fans’ reaction at the final whistle. For the first time during his spell as Inter manager, the whole stadium whistled the team and the coach at the end of the game against Bayern. This tension between the fans and the coach is growing match after match, and these two defeats in the last week put more pressure on him heading into a crucial week before the International break. Inter will play against Turin and Udinese in Serie A and away against Viktoria Plzen next week (you can catch all of those matches on Paramount+). The Nerazzurri need to score points now and both club and fans expect nothing less than three wins. If results don’t arrive, the future of the manager might be seriously at risk. On the other hand, Inzaghi signed a new contract until 2024 earlier this summer and considering the financial situation of the club, it’s likely that the owner Steven Zhang will be reluctant to make a change quickly this season. But soccer is a brutal sport, and results need to come otherwise no one is safe. Just nobody Thomas Tuchel.

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