With the Serie A fixture schedule requiring Inter, for the umpteenth time in the space of a few weeks, to respond to Juventus‘ victory earlier in the matchday to retake top spot, Simone Inzaghi‘s team needed to show all their maturity and mental strength in a home clash against Udinese.
So it was no surprise that the Nerazzurri coach was questioned before their emphatic 4-0 win over the Zebrette about the risk of potentially underestimating a side that had claimed only one Serie A victory since the start of the season.
To top it all, the simultaneous injuries of Denzel Dumfries, Benjamin Pavard and Stefan de Vrij deprived the team of some of their best defensive options, all in a period in which rotations would have been particularly helpful. This forced Inzaghi to ask his players “to put in some extra shifts”, as he put it, in some of his pre-match press duties.
How Simone Inzaghi has coped with Inter’s injuries
More specifically, it meant giving Yann Bisseck his first Serie A start of the season and moving Matteo Darmian forward as a right wing-back, just one week after Carlos Augusto was called upon to adjust to the centre-back position as he came in to replace injured De Vrij at Napoli, where Alessandro Bastoni was also ruled out of the match.
On both occasions, though, Inter showed an impressive level of cohesion that made many forget about the adjustments, as if the players were just waiting for the moment to prove their level of commitment.
And while Nerazzurri’s injury record is undeniably much better than those of other teams, such an attitude from their squad has allowed them to cope with absences in recent weeks, from Pavard‘s to Bastoni’s, Sanchez‘s to Cuadrado‘s.
Against Udinese, all the above-mentioned factors were just cancelled out by a dominant and hungry display that had the Biscione playing in full swing, with the likes of Bisseck already seeming fully integrated into the team’s mechanisms despite his limited playing time.
Shared leadership the key behind Inter’s cohesion
But what was even more impressive was how every single player, from defence to attack, looked confident in taking initiative, knowing that they’d be constantly supported by their teammates.
Although Lautaro Martinez, Hakan Calhanoglu and Marcus Thuram are arguably Inter‘s most reliable technical players, there’s a sense of shared leadership within the team. That allows the likes of Acerbi, Darmian, Dimarco, and so on, to shine, which resulted in an impressive string of opportunities that ended up crushing Udinese.
Whether such team spirit will be able to withstand tougher hurdles and the test of time remains to be seen, but what is sure is that Inter‘s collective strength is what has been making a difference in the opening four months of the season.