The fixture list over the next week or so makes for pretty gruesome reading if you’re a pessimistic Inter fan.
Just a few days after that, they will be taking part in a Champions League semi-final against AC Milan, the club’s biggest game in many, many years. Every element of the squad will need to be used by Simone Inzaghi, and that is why the Nerazzurri’s start against Hellas Verona on Matchday 33 was exactly what he needed.
Inzaghi in rotational dreamland
The Inter coach decided to make six changes for the match in Verona from the impressive victory over Lazio at the weekend. Samir Handanovic, Stefan de Vrij, Denzel Dumfries, Hakan Calhanoglu, Edin Dzeko and Lautaro Martinez came into the starting eleven having been on the bench at the weekend.
That level of rotation always comes with its own risks but Inzaghi clearly felt that those who came in were able to maintain the overall level of the squad, especially when factoring in Verona being one of Serie A‘s worst sides this season.
The Gialloblu held on for the first half an hour but their work was undone by Adolfo Gaich‘s headed own goal. Inter smelled blood and a wonder goal from Hakan Calhanoglu and a neat finish from Edin Dzeko within seven minutes of the opener meant the contest was over before half time.
Inzaghi will have been thrilled, knowing that he can use all five subs fairly early and start plotting for the massive weekend fixture against AS Roma. He still waited until the 57th minute to make changes but he then removed Danilo D’Ambrosio and Federico Dimarco, before taking off Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Denzel Dumfries for Roberto Gagliardini and Mattia Zanotti with 25 minutes still to play.
In the meantime, Lautaro Martinez and Dzeko had added two more very impressive goals and Verona looked woefully out of their depth. With 15 to play, Marcelo Brozovic was withdrawn for Kristjan Asllani. In the dying seconds, Lautaro added his second and made it 6-0 to Inter.
Inzaghi drops selection hint for AS Roma match
What was surprising about Inzaghi’s decisions within the game was that Edin Dzeko and Lautaro Martinez were left on for the entire game.
The former Lazio coach chose to start Romelu Lukaku and Joaquin Correa against Lazio at the weekend and the Belgian played the entire game. Being left out in full against Verona suggests he will be starting against Roma on Matchday 34.
Correa only played an hour against Lazio but given Lautaro netted twice when he came on, and twice against Verona, the coach may feel he has enough in the tank to start again at the weekend.