Before the season’s second international break, Simone Inzaghi‘s decision not to rotate his Inter XI against Bologna after a mentally and physically draining Champions League win over Benfica left many wondering whether their recent home loss at the hands of Sassuolo had taught the Nerazzurri a lesson.

The coach had adopted a similar approach then, and it was one that ended up proving costly. Against the Neroverdi, Inzaghi‘s side failed to build on their first-half advantage and eventually looked to run out of fuel and struggled at the very moment in which a lively Sassuolo fought back and scored twice at the beginning of the second half.

Despite some clear differences in the dynamics of the games, the sense of deja vu was unavoidable while watching Bologna come back to earn a point at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza. Once again, Inter‘s second-half collapse was characterized by Inzaghi‘s inability to properly read the game and his side’s inability to create chances.

Inter’s Denzel Dumfries in Champions League action. (@Inter)

Why can’t Inter win when they concede goals?

Inter had received deserved praise for keeping three clean sheets from their four opening Serie A games, with the only goal suffered by AC Milan not affecting the outcome of the Derby della Madonnina.

However, the fixtures that followed presented contradictory evidence – every time Inter conceded a goal, they couldn’t get the three points in the end.

While their reaction after falling behind against Real Sociedad eventually earned them a valuable point in their Champions League group, their defeat and draw against Sassuolo and Bologna respectively highlighted Inter‘s difficulties in handling situations in which their opponents are able to show resistance for longer than they had expected.

This seems to be particularly the case when Inter manage to start on the strong foot, but their initial supremacy doesn’t prove enough to give them a comfortable margin. Against Bologna, the moment of the Rossoblu winning penalty ended up changing the momentum of a match, turning things completely in the other direction.

Simone Inzaghi‘s side are tactically prepared to both dominate games with the ball or hurt on the counter, but the same flexibility doesn’t apply to their mental approach. It is starting to look like they cannot win games in which they concede, which has also led them to drop five points from winning positions in Serie A.

Does Simone Inzaghi lack a plan B?

However, Simone Inzaghi‘s strategic plans in such games haven’t been free from defects. Both against Sassuolo and Bologna, the Inter coach opted to replace Marcus Thuram with Alexis Sanchez with at least 25 minutes left to play while his side desperately needed to score.

With Marko Arnautovic ruled out through injury until November, such a decision forced the Nerazzurri to only rely on two strikers in their final push, as Inzaghi doesn’t seem to consider the possibility of playing with three forwards at the same time, at least as a temporary solution to add prowess to their attack.

Inter’s Alexis Sanchez. [@Inter]

But with Thuram and Denzel Dumfries both subbed off, Inter were also deprived of their tallest players in a phase of the match in which crosses and long balls inevitably become more frequent, leaving Lautaro Martinez and Alexis Sanchez, alongside the likes of Nicolo Barella, Davide Frattesi or Carlos Augusto, with the complicated task of winning aerial duels in an increasingly packed opposition box in order to create chances.

This is why Inzaghi‘s recurring and predictable tactical script, with the same substitutions always made in similar moments of the games, is limiting the Nerazzurri, forcing the former Lazio coach to work on alternative strategies that can prevent Inter from dropping more points in games that require them to either dig in or keep their focus beyond the opening 45 minutes.