Despite bringing a renewed optimism to the club, and bringing in some quality players, the second coming of Roberto Mancini at Inter is not going according to plan as the Nerazzurri have struggled under their new boss.
Consecutive league games without a goal are suggestive of a team that is struggling to create. New signing Lukas Podolski looks like a player who has barley played all season, while Xherdan Shaqiri doesn’t have 90 minutes in his legs yet. Add in a drop in form for Mateo Kovačić and it is clear why Inter are unable to break down teams.
So have things really improved under Mancini? His points per game average of 1.1 is worse than the man he replaced Walter Mazzarri (1.45). Other basic metrics are all more or less the same. Inter’s goal-to-game ratio has declined a touch from 1.5 to 1.3. The number they have conceded has risen slightly from 1.3 to 1.5. Possession is 57.4% as opposed to 58.2%. Inter are shooting a fraction more at an average of 13 per game compared to 12.9. And although the chances they’re creating per game has fallen from 13.6 to 9.3, Inter are more clinical under Mancini. Their conversion rate has climbed from 9.1% to 10.3%.
So despite a general feel good factor over the arrival of Mancini, are Inter going in the right direction? The answer to that question is maybe!
In Mancini’s defense he hasn’t had the benefit of a pre-season and he is still learning about the players he inherited, Mancini has transitioned from a back three to a back four a move that has given the team more width. Podolski and in particular Shaqiri are two terrific players who probably would not have joined Inter if Walter Mazzarri was still in charge.
The schedule has not done Mancini any favors either, He started with the Milan derby. Inter then went to Roma. They hosted high-flying Lazio before Christmas and began the New Year by travelling to Turin to play champions and league leaders Juventus in the Derby d’Italia. To say it’s been uphill is an understatement.
But this is the part of the schedule that you expect Inter to start to put together a winning steak. But four points from three games against Genoa, Empoli abd Torino is not good enough. Not if Inter want to catch Napoli for the third Champions League place.
But while results have not improved under Mancini, the perception of Inter is that they are more like themselves with him at the helm than Mazzarri. The general outlook and atmosphere is certainly more positive. It’s normal after an engine refit for it to cough, splutter and stall, but once it gets going Inter should be headed in the right direction.
Do you think Mancini has Inter heading in the right direction?