His decision to retain nine players from the starting lineup fielded at Empoli three days before showed that he wants to give some continuity to a core group of players. He may be tempted to reassess things in the aftermath of a 2-1 defeat that put an end to the Nerazzurri’s five-game winning streak in Serie A.
However, as much as some players may have shown signs of fatigue, the truth is that Inter created all the conditions to score more than once in the first half and should blame their own lack of precision for keeping the game in the balance against a side that had just received a massive morale booster after their 4-2 win over Juventus in their previous match.
Inter should learn to limit damages on their bad days
Sassuolo‘s two goals in the opening 20 minutes of the second half meant that Inter were presented with the task of turning a league game around for the first time this season, however, Simone Inzaghi’s four changes five minutes after Domenico Berardi‘s goal suggested the coach himself believed that his side needed fresh energy to achieve such a feat.
But while many ended up wondering why the likes of Alessandro Bastoni and Federico Dimarco, or even Henrikh Mkhitaryan, had made the starting XI in the first place as their displays showed fatigue, it shouldn’t be overlooked that the Nerazzurri played a more than decent first half, racking up eight shots, but with just one of them hitting the target.
For all the energy used in forcing Sassuolo into their own half, the Nerazzurri only got a little and late reward through Dumfries‘ goal and it looked like such an effort ended up draining them of the strengths they would’ve needed when things got complicated.
Physical and mental exhaustion may well have played a role, but the way Inter’s second half panned out recalled last season’s inability to handle those games in which the Nerazzurri failed to capitalise on their chances before being harshly punished by one of the few opportunities from their opponents.
It wasn’t exactly the case with Sassuolo, who deserved credit for their combative approach, but Inter should and could have gotten a better result had they handled some moments of the game better, something that a mature team should quickly learn to do.
Inzaghi should also reflect on his tendency to act frantically when things don’t play out as planned – his quadruple substitution after 68 minutes in an attempt to turn the tide ended up also taking off some quality from his side that they needed in their final assault, such as Thuram‘s pace or Bastoni‘s passing.
Sassuolo’s plan to trouble Inter’s defence proved effective
Sassuolo, on their part, got rewarded by another exciting display that saw Alessio Dionisi‘s men raise their level as time went by.
Following a difficult start, their ability to make their lines tighter and close central gaps, forcing the Nerazzurri to play wide, was pivotal in diminishing the quality of their opponents’ chance creation.
The Neroverdi’s impressive organisation also allowed them to use the right amount of energy in the opening period, before showcasing all their liveliness in the key moments of the match.
In addition to all this, their repeated attempts from outside the box looked like proof they had a plan to cause trouble for the best defence in Serie A – the technical quality of their players was arguably one of the main weapons they could exploit and that’s exactly what they did, earning them their fifth win at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza against Inter.