With all the nasty, petty accusations of the last few days, it’s easy to overlook that yesterday was the first interview with the new Inter coach, GP Gasperini – although it might have been the last time that La Gazzetta dello Sport get invited into the building… we’ll just have to see about that.
Accompanied by Branca and someone I didn’t recognize but was labeled Stefano Filucchi, GP was introduced in the Inter press room and presented to the media – or grilled for a while, however you want to put it. Inter.it had several parts already translated and the italics means that it’s coming straight from the website, which is handy and time saving for me…
"I've tried to get stuck straight into my new job and right from the start my impression was that this training centre has everything we need to be able to work to the best of our abilities. Training won't start until next Sunday but we're ready now." Gasperini will take charge of his first training session with the players in four days' time, in Pinzolo, but he already has clear ideas about his Inter side: "I'm firmly convinced that this is already a very good team and I plan to have a big season. I might introduce a three-man defence here because other teams have produced good results with it – and it's something that I have adopted successfully myself in the past – but it will be one of our alternatives and not the only solution. We must show that we can adapt during the match and come up with something a bit different, and enjoy ourselves at the same time."
There has never been any question of GP’s work ethic, just the opposite and I think it’s safe to say that he’s going to try and make the best of his first chance at coaching a big club’s senior team. Genoa had a very good run with him at the helm, but I think that the expectations and pressures are a little different at Inter, no disrespect to Genoa.
It’s nice to read that he’s not completely crazy. It’s already a good team and competitive. I agree with this. Here’s hoping he’s not planning on trying to turn that good team into something it’s not.
There should be no surprise that the media went right into the use of the 3 man defensive backfield. I have said this before, we incorporate a lot of this stuff already, plus it’s shown to be effective if used correctly – just like any other formation. It’s heartening to hear that he’s got other ideas and at least plans to use alternatives if needed. Adaptation is a good thing.
"I prefer not to get too caught up in the numbers," replied the Inter coach when asked about the formations and tactics he plans to use, "because this team is full of great players capable of performing in different positions, and that includes Sneijder. What we must show right from the beginning is a strong mentality and a desire to achieve new targets."
Continuing on the not crazy theme, he has plans for Sneijder. Sneijder is an asset to the team and it’s better with him in it. If a coach decided that Wes might not fit in a pre-ordained formation that the coach has his heart set on playing then that coach is asinine and I am glad to hear that GP, so far (this may change stay tuned), isn’t that. A strong mentality is something we didn’t show at all last season, but especially in the first half. We – the team, but also the supporters at times - allowed ourselves to get caught up in the ups and downs – something that Mourinho was a master at controlling. Benitez, more often than not was the cause of unrest to the team in an effort to salve and befriend the press. Mourinho calmed the team and caused the press palsy after conniptions. I prefer the Mourinho method. Fuck the press.
The first of those targets will be Gasperini's first competitive match in charge of Inter: the Italian Super Cup on 6 August. "I think that on that occasion we will field the players who will take part in our pre-season preparations as of next Sunday; we'll let the South-Americans have a bit of a rest."
Another thing that Benitez didn’t do was manage the team that spent the summer playing in a World Cup. Those players were expected to come back to the team and start right where they left off and I think that was an ask too far. Letting the South American contingent that is currently playing time to recuperate their bodies and minds – especially for a vet group like this – could be a good way to make sure that the team performs well in the long run.
What does this leave us with, though if those players aren’t in the team? As of right now we have Castellazzi and Viviano in goal. Defenders are: Cordoba, Maicon (Who hasn’t played yet, I don’t think), Chivu, Santon, Natalino, Ranocchia, Nagatomo, Faraoni and Caldirola. Midfielders are… all of them except Coutinho who - I think - is playing in the U21 thingy later this summer. Likewise all the forwards are available except Milito. That’s pretty much 85% of the whole squad, isn’t it?
Gasperini answered some questions about the transfer market, "speaking only about those who are already officially Inter players. We should remember that the Nerazzurri squad is already extremely competitive, but whoever is brought in will only strengthen this group further. Alvarez? I can say that he is a very good player and he would be an excellent reinforcement. Palacio? Inter are keen on him, I have coached him and I value his abilities. But, as I said, I think we already have a very strong team: two years ago these players won everything and no parts of that team have been lost. That said, I believe it is the club's intention to make it even stronger; it won't be weakened in any case. We should also remember that in recent years Inter have made fewer mistakes in the transfer market than anyone else."
If he’s telling the truth then the Palacio thing isn’t his idea and can be forgiven that much. With the caveat that I think that Inter should have done more last summer… I think he’s dead on correct about Inter’s forays into the transfer market. We have made several bold moves in the last 5 years or so and we have come up aces on several of them, including Zlatan for Eto’o and 5 youth players + 20 odd million cash for Motta and Milito – the UEFA player of the year 2010. Only one of those players is a regular on a Serie A team and I think that Ranocchia is better suited to us than he is. Had we had our misses? Sure, but for every Quaresma we have bought in the last 5 years or so we also bought a Lucio (3 million) and a Coutinho (3 million).
From Mourinho to Leonardo, via Benitez. Gasperini explains that "something can be learnt from each of them, though we know that everyone has their own methods and their own way of building up a rapport with the players. The Nerazzurri are a positive group and they have always known how to respond when difficulties have arisen and when results weren't going their way. That is a good basis on which to build relationships within the dressing room and to achieve more success together."
Gian Piero Gasperini's Nerazzurri experience starts here, and he is thinking of nothing but the future: "What am I worried about? Nothing, I just want to start working with Inter."
The Inter dressing room is famous, on this blog at least, for being a tightly held together thing. During The Treble run there were several interviews of players with supposedly massively egos telling reporters how desperate they were not to let their fellows down. How much they wanted to win for the club and how welcome they felt from the other players.
Last season Ranocchia, Yuto and Pazzini both showered their co-workers with praise on how much help the others gave to integrate them into the daily routine. Those players were World Champions and Champions League winners. These player could have had trophy cabinet additions built to their houses, no would fault them for some arrogance.
GP needs to keep this feeling going and manage the locker room as much as he manages the formations and strategy.
Most of this text in italics was already translated from Inter.it. Something that wasn’t translated is the fact that a reporter asked a question regarding GP’s past affiliations with JuBentus. GP’s reply showed that the man has a sense of the moment and isn’t completely stupid. Coach or no coach, if he claims to be JuBentino then doesn't survive his first minute on the Meazza grass. He clearly stipulates that he only coached the JuBentus youth team and actually considers himself more of a Crotone and Genoa guy. Smart move. No Vespa shower for you - yet.
There is more of course, as the increasingly – and welcome – presence of the Asian press around the Inter offices also had some questions to which Inter.it also provided a translated taste:
After his press conference, Gian Piero Gasperini spoke to some of the most important media representatives from Japan, who asked the new Inter coach what he thought of Yuto Nagatomo.
"I'm banking on him," emphasised Gasperini. "I like him and I know very well what he's capable of on the wing. I'm not surprised to find him at a big club such as Inter. He deserves the success he has had. If a player does well, and if he keeps learning and developing, then of course he will perform better and better. I'm looking forward to coaching Yuto."
I personally think that this is great news, if he wasn’t just pandering to an important and influential group of media personalities. I have a good feeling about Yuto, mostly from what I have read his ex-colleagues at Cesena have said about him: If you were to give his mentality, work ethic and speed into Santon’s body you would have the perfect fullback. However, having a short, speedy, hard working, tenacious defender who can score 2 goals every half year isn't bad either...
GP brings some of his staff from Genoa in the form of assistants Bruno Caneo, Luca Trucchi and Ivan Juric. However long time associates Giampiero Ventrone and Michelangelo Rampulla will not be joining him. Rampulla is a goalkeepers coach and it’s politely rumored that Cesar had called from South America to lobby to keep Nista as his coach. Ventrone is considered to be very gung-ho and the team has already tasted this sort of thing under Benitez and the polite rumor is that the team declined his services.
The impolite rumor is that these two are far too recent of JuBentus and no one will stand to have them in the building. The dirty rumor is that the players with the technical staff were whispering, plotting, sharpening pitch forks, hammering nails into 2x4s and lighting torches. Ventrone is rumored/feared to be much too familiar with EPO and the other interesting training methods of his past post at The PED Dispensing Factory for Calcio at Torino. If Ventrone were to ever join Inter in the future one is hopeful that he is given a full and lengthy vetting to make sure he has left his bad habits behind him.
As it is, it seems like a smart idea to keep the core staff that was able to win the Treble together as much as possible. For no reason or no proof other than I think it was a mistake to let him go, I anticipate Lele Oriali to come home soon. I think that the dismissal was a real shame for the – and the following might be news to some of the younger people who frequent these pages, since he didn’t play for JuBentus, Roma or Milan – former Inter midfielder who also received a World Cup Winners Medal. Those guys are always a little special.