Once I got the Stretch Hose infomercial mercifully off my screen and the game on it, I was having a blast. It was so great to see an actual football game that it didn’t matter to me how we played. I am going to surmise that a lot of us felt the same way.
Despite the euphoria, there lots of things that I noticed that did nothing to alleviate the feelings of uncertainty I have and documented yesterday.
The team looked really tired in the first half. It’s not just me who noticed it –
"I already knew we would struggle. I want to highlight the massive amount of work the squad put in this week. Today was the end of the cycle. We did a lot of work on power. It's what allows you to get to the ball first, the secret of modern football. Today's friendly showed that even against a side of their level, if they get to the ball first, they can cause you problems. We'll work on this because it's something we need to keep in mind.”
That was Mazzarri on Inter Channel. Does it sound like he thinks that the game went swimmingly? The midfield was the area that I though needed work when the season ended and it’s let me down again today, especially with the first team in the first half. Cambiasso and Kuzmanovic in particular looked slow and with zero gas in the tank.
I have read on several other sites as I was trawling for opinions that there are people who thought that Kuzmanovic did well. When I looked deeper for reasons that these people thought he was so good, I got the same message over and over, “He’s running now.”
Keeping the thought that he should have always been running locked deep in my frontal lobes, the fact that he’s running doesn’t impress me. It’s an athletic competition that he’s paid to engage in. Running should be a freaking given, not a surprise. What actually bothers me is that he’s (you can go ahead and make that “they”, as Cambiasso was guilty of the same) often not where he’s supposed to be. In the first half against the Trentino All Stars, might I remind you, he and Cambiasso who are part of a midfield 3 seem to be allowing the other team to run right down the gut of the formation AGAIN.
In the second half, the team was much more dominating in the middle because Olsen and Mira were where they should be, completed the passes they were asked to and did spend half their time gasping like landed fish as they struggled to run.
Why yes, they were about 15 years younger than Cambiasso and weighed just under a metric ton less than Kuzmanovic. Do you think that this is relevant information?
Actually, the Mira comparison to Kuzmanovic is really unflattering considering that the youngster was a direct substitution for the stocky Serb and did just soooooo much more with the time and directions given. And if you saw the game, then you should realize just how much I am downplaying the performance of Mira compared to Kuz, here. The 18 year old ran him off the park and outplayed him too in the pittance of time allotted.
And let’s be clear here – I am not calling for the inclusion of Mira to the first team. However, I am calling for the immediate sale of Kuzmanovic. There seems to be something of an auction for his services, so shipping him off shouldn’t be a problem.
Anyhoo I am really down on Kuz, to the contrast of what seems to be the rest of the English speaking Inter world. By the way, it probably won’t be the last thing that I disagree with them about tonight…
For a positive the formation that the team played was tightened way the hell up. Someone on twitter, forgive me I can’t remember who it was and I am not going to fish through my timeline to this morning’s game to get a source, said that the gaps in the different bands that the team had been leaving were noticeably gone for this game. Again, no one is saying that all is fixed and there is greatness acomin’, but it was a great point. The team looked really buttoned up, very noticeably, like there was special attention paid in training. And that kind of thing always gives me hope. If Mazzarri can fix enough of the small things, than maybe some of the bigger things will be fixed along the way, too.
Another positive I want to point out is the forwards. All of them, even Ishak. All of the forwards showed so much movement, so much willingness to come back and help out, it really made me happy to see. It’s not just that there was a positive vibe that was filtering up from the team, which was nice to see, but it was the fact that the young guys that are new this season look like they can be the dynamic, athletic players that we were sold. Again, it’s the first friendly, everyone is tired from the boot camp that Mazzarri is supposedly running, the team has been assembled for a total of 10 days or so… all that being said, it’s heartening to see that they can do what we were told they can do. Palacio in particular looks like he’s ready to go today. All I got to say is WOW.
And there is going to be a lot of crap about Ishak missing those 2 penalties, to which I say, big f-ing deal. I couldn’t care less if he misses a hundred during the preseason. Two seasons ago Milito missed something like 4 in a row and we still keep his old butt around. But I have read the early reaction and it is not nice. I have fasted for a month with very limited available foods, not for religious reasons, like Ishak is doing now and I will tell you that after going to work and taking care of domestic responsibilities I was completely done in. I am in awe of the man going through training camp right now. And I applaud the team for being adaptable enough to make it work. Ishak will either pan out in a big way or he won’t and some meaningless 12 meter shots won’t change anything. At least it won’t change anything with me, that’s for sure.
Nothing else really stands out to me about this game other than it didn’t look like a finished product. There was some nice movement, but there was very little to show for it in most cases. The Trentino keeper made several nice saves and there was a post in there too, but I was mostly concerned with the Trentino ability to invade the Inter side of the field by dribbling through the midfield. I have the feeling I will be talking about that several times more this preseason.
So here are some highlights: