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Inter: The forgotten Milan: The story so far

  1. Inter: The forgotten Milan: The story so far

    Full blog found at


    The city of Milan is steeped in football history with the two Milan clubs being leading clubs in Europe. The club was formed in 1908 and has since gone on to win 18 Serie A titles and 3 European titles. The club hasn’t won a trophy since the 2010-2011 season where from then on in have had multiple owners and managers and haven’t been able to mix it at the top of Serie A.

    The 2017/2018 Pre-Season has been littered with big money signings. None more so than our city rivals AC Milan. AC have brought in no less than 9 players for a staggering combined fee of £160 Million. Juventus who have carved up the Serie A winning the title for the last 6 years.

    Inter have become the forgotten giant in Italian football and it’s time they were brought back to the top and competing for major honours once again.

    Episode 1 - Typical Italian Defence

    It was a new era, rookie manager Half Back was venturing out of his native England and going to the land of Pizza and Peroni. Italy! Half-Back is new to management but has his philosophies which are based on great Italian sides of the past. Don't concede, pinch a goal.

    As stated in the prelude Inter Milan have been on a decline since 2011 and have had a dry spell in regards to silverware, despite their lucrative collection from the past 109 years.

    Upon arriving at the San Siro it was clear to see the foundations were in place for a strong and athletic defensive side, with the flair to unpick teams on the break. It would just take some careful planning and management from myself.

    As mentioned I was looking to play with a defensive mindset and ensure we were keeping the ball out of our net as often as possible. After all, if we don't concede we can't be beaten. For that reason I have decided we will be lining up with a 4-3-3-0 (Stikerless) formation with a defensive mindset. Now I know your saying "But you have got Icardi!" Fear not, I have a plan for him and it will soon be revealed.

    My plans for Pre-Season were to use a core 20 players, get them all match fit, used to the new formation and get to grips with our corner routines. In regards to transfers I felt the main areas for improvement were in the fullback department, and unless the right player came up, I wouldn't spend. I was going to be shrewd in the market and ensure that the clubs finances were put first.

    In regards to outgoings there was only one notable departure and it was French winger Jonathon Biabiany who went to Leicester City for £4 Million. Although this wasn't much it was money off the wage bill and one less player to try and keep happy, who realistically wasn't going to feature much.

    Pre-Season started slow with the lads struggling to get to grips with the attacking side of the formation. Defensively we started off sound but there was still work to do and improvements to be made. As the friendlies went on the lads got to grips with the style of play and the formation and results picked up. The last three games were evidence of this scoring 9 goals and conceding 0.

    All in all it was a positive Pre-Season and hopefully we could carry this momentum into the season. We kept 5 clean sheets in 7 games, again hopefully a sign of things to come.

    Finally we shall set some targets, monthly and season long. Each episode we will address these and monitor progress.

    Season targets:
    • Top 4 finish
    • Semi final of the Coppa Italia
    • 19 league clean sheets (50% of all games)
    • Average possession of +55% across the season
    • 6 goals from corners
    Monthly targets (August & September due to lack of games in August):
    • Avoid defeat against AC Milan
    • 14 points out of a possible 18
    • 3 Clean Sheets
    • 1 goal from a corner

    Episode 2: Derby success amongst mixed emotions

    Welcome to the second chapter of my Inter save. The forgotten Milan. This episode will look at one feature game, a quick review of other games and a review of my targets/set new targets.

    Our season kicked off with arguably the biggest game of the season. AC Milan. What a way to have your first competitive game in charge. Talk about being thrown in the deep end. AC Milan were also entering into the season with a new manager, the experienced Vincenzo Montella, and their 9, yes 9 new signings. This was going to be a battle.

    In the build up to the match I decided I was going to be respectful throughout, refrain from getting caught up in the hype and focus on the task ahead. The same can’t be said for our opposition. Montella openly came out and called out Handanovic as the “Weak Link!” Very unprofessional and hopefully something that will come back to bite him on the ass.

    Going into the match we were going with our tried and tested formation although, what was news to me was that my original plan of Murrilo and Miranda at CB would need to be rethought, Murrilo was suspended! Big loss for a big game. Ranocchia had big shoes to fill.

    The Icardi Plan. Icardi was going to play as a Shadow Striker, but in the AMC position. Theory behind this is to give him more space to operate but keep us in a compact defensive shape.

    The game was cagey, as could be expected for such a big game in the first game of the season. Unusually we weren’t controlling the ball with AC Milan taking the lion’s share of the ball. Both sides were limited to a shot apiece, of which neither were on target. Maybe the second half would open up more?

    The second half started brightly for us with Icardi finding space in the box and forcing a smart save from Donnarumma at his near post.

    66 minutes in and the second half was predominately controlled by us having many shots on goal and keeping Donnarumma busy. Eder came on to replace Perisic out wide left.

    83 minutes in and the game has opened up again with Inter looking the more threatening. A corner was won and from the resulting set piece, a penalty was given. Riccardo Rodriguez had pushed Miranda. A chance to nick the 3 points. Up stepped Icardi who calmly slotted the penalty away into the bottom corner.

    85 minutes gone. 1-0 Inter Milan.

    That’s it, no last minute scares a 1-0 win against city rivals AC Milan to kick off the season.

    Clean Sheet number 1.

    Game 2 Fiorentina

    In the first half we dominated possession throughout, without making any clear cut chances. Handanovic made many saves keeping us at 0-0 before Candreva broke down the right and whipped a low ball in to which Perisic met and drove home. 1-0 Half Time.

    7 minutes into the second half and Perisic returned the favour following some good work by Icardi to deliver a cross to the back post which Candreva finished nicely. 2-0.

    83 minutes in and following a spell of pressure from Fiorentina, Miranda conceded a penalty having been deemed to have pushed the striker. Handanovic was having a great game, and he continued this by saving the penalty!

    Full time 2-0.

    Clean sheet number 2.

    Game 3 Sampdoria
    Our third game saw us on the road again, this time to Sampdoria who were sitting 2nd in the league winning both of their opening fixtures. More bad news to follow is that Kondogbia, Skriniar and Murillo would all be missing through injury.

    After a dull first half with no chances of note, on the stroke of half time Medel broke through the right hand side and delivered a ball which was met by the right boot of Mauro Icardi. 1-0.

    They always say you are most vulnerable right after you score. 1 minute later a loose pass from D’Ambrosio saw us countered down the right and Sampdoria equalised in the 45th minute.

    Goal! Second half and once again Candreva whips a ball in for Perisic which is deflected in and counts as an OG. 2-1

    Again just two minutes later Ranocchia concedes a penalty for handball. 2-2.

    Full time, 2-2, not a good result or performance.

    Game 4 Bologna
    7 minutes in and Miranda connects with a sweetly delivered free kick by Peresic 1-0.
    2 minutes later Candreva fired a free kick into the top right hand corner. 2-0
    86 minutes in and we win a penalty following a corner. Icardi 3-0.
    62% possession. 3-0 win. Clean sheet number 3.

    Game 5 Atlanta
    40 minutes in, 14 shots and 71% possession later Medel slides Icardi through who finishes coolly. 1-0.
    57 mins in and Atlanta level it with a pulled back cross which was headed out of reach. 1-1.
    2 mins later slack marking allowed the Atlanta striker to get free in the box. 2-1 down, work to be done!
    65 mins Illicic sent off for Atlanta! Big chance!
    Full Time 2-1 defeat. My first loss and a very disappointing one having dominated the game.

    Game 6 Sassuolo
    Two early goals from Candreva and Icardi set us off on the right foot before being pegged back mid-way through the first half. Icardi then restored the 2 goal advantage just before half time. 3-1.
    We shut up shop after this and saw the game out. 3 more points.

    All in all a mixed set of results which overall we can be proud with. Below is a review of the monthly targets and an update on the season targets.

    Season targets:
    • Top 4 finish - Ongoing
    • Semi final of the Coppa Italia - Ongoing
    • 19 league clean sheets (50% of all games) - 3/19
    • Average possession of +55% across the season - 54.83%
    • 6 goals from corners - 0/6
    Monthly targets (August & September due to lack of games in August):
    • Avoid defeat against AC Milan - 1-0 win
    • 14 points out of a possible 18 - 13 points
    • 3 Clean Sheets - 3/3 Clean Sheets
    • 1 goal from a corner - 0/1 (3 from Indirect Free Kicks though!)
    Monthly targets October:
    • 13 points from a possible 15
    • 3 Clean Sheets
    • 1 goal from a corner
    • Score 10 goals

    Episode 3: Perfection, oh so nearly!

    Thanks again for returning to my blog to read all about whether I can take Inter Milan back to the top of Italian football. Going into the month of October we had got off to a pretty good start in the league. But it was time to kick on and try create a gap at the top of the table. Maybe a breakaway.Last episode I had set the following targets for the upcoming games.
    • 13 points from a possible 15
    • 3 Clean Sheets
    • 1 goal from a corner
    • Score 10 goals
    Read on to see how we coped, meeting all these targets would lead to a perfect month!


    Results went our way in October as we controlled all our games from start to finish. Before the month I had identified the first two games as the toughest of the month. Torino and Lazio. Easy. Both were comfortably dispatched 3-0 and 1-0 respectively. After keeping clean sheets in both games and winning both, my hopes and expectations changed. I now wanted to go the month with a 100% win record, and not letting a single goal. Our next game saw us dispatch Verona 3-0, but then we hit our stumbling block against SPAL. Somehow despite having 31 shots to SPAL's 3, we were held to a 0-0. All that was left was to keep our final opponents of the month Crotone out for a full month of clean sheets. Firstly, we secured the win, but unfortunately it weren't to be. We conceded following a header back across goal, leaving Handanovic in no mans land. A 3-1 win was enough to secure the 3 points though.


    So after that month, we're top of the league right?


    Somehow the rest of the league have been keeping pace, but surely not for much longer?

    Finally a review of the targets:

    Season targets:
    • Top 4 finish – Ongoing
    • Semi final of the Coppa Italia – Ongoing
    • 19 league clean sheets (50% of all games) – 7/19
    • Average possession of +55% across the season – 54.09%
    • 6 goals from corners – 0/6 (Maybe we need to rethink our tactics)
    Monthly targets October:
    • 13 points from a possible 15 - 13/15 - Achieved
    • 3 clean sheets - 4/5 - Achieved
    • 1 goal from a corner - 0 - Tactic rethink
    • Score 10 goals - 10 goals scored - Achieved
    Monthly targets November:
    • 9 points from 9
    • 3 clean sheets from 3
    • 1 corner goal? Surely?
    November is a short month soooo....... it's Double episode day! There will be another post to follow this one tonight! Make sure you check back to find out whether we can meet those targets!

    So that's the story so far, please do check out my blog at as posts are much more frequent! Thanks for reading!
    Last edited by TheHalfBackBlog; 31/07/2017 at 01:16 PM.
    josh_brady and Rushton like this.

  2. I will be following

  3. Good to hear! Another episode will follow tonight which will most likely be a short one but then we will get into the thick of it...Especially with a week off work as of Wednesday!
    josh_brady and Rushton like this.

  4. The Inter bus keeps on rolling next episode is live, check it out here:

    Thanks for returning back to my blog for the second episode of the day!

    As you can see by the title, the Inter bus just keeps on rolling!

    One or two stops but nothing to worry about just yet!

    November was a short month with only three games so I am going to introduce a new feature to my blogs. Player profiling. Each month I will look at 3 first team players, look at their stats, potential and attributes. Hopefully this is something that interests you?!


    Results were good for November, could of been better but definitely a good month! From the 3 games I took 7 points so could of been a lot worse. I kicked off the month with a 4-1 win over Udinese. Good result, but a clean sheet would of put the cherry on top! We then welcomed Genoa to the San Siro. Unfortunately luck was not on our side against Genoa as we dominated throughout and hit the woodwork no less than 3 times! We were held to a 0-0 stalemate, biggest positive was another clean sheet! Finally we travelled to Benevento, who were new to Serie A. We opened the scoring in a strange game in the first minute. Benevento finished the game with 8 men following 3 red cards! Unbelievably we still only scored 1 goal despite hitting the woodwork three times. Again! Full time 1-0. A win never the less and another clean sheet!


    This feature will drop in and out of my blogs, depending on whether there is key news I feel you should know. I was warned about this from another blogger (@CharlieTangoFM, Check him out.) Icardi will be linked away and become a problem. Low and behold following his best spell for me, Man. City are interested and he has requested to leave. With us making a monthly loss I decided I would rather cash in on him than have an unhappy player, we would replace him with the big money we received. Therefore i agreed to his request after a small attempt at convincing him to stay and I will look to cash in on him in January. For now I will be mixing in other players to his role to ensure there is a seamless transition come January.

    To see the rest of this entry including targets and player profiles check out my blog at:

    Comments will be greatly appreciated!

    Grazie e arrivederci!
    josh_brady and Rushton like this.

  5. Put that in your pipe and smoke it Allegri!

    Hi All, here we are again with the next episode of my Inter Milan save. All about Inter and how they have gone under the radar in comparison to the big spenders of AC and the domination of Juventus, and their decline since 2011.

    December was outlined to be a trricky month facing both Juventus and Roma, so read on see how we get on and check out the player profiles for this episode at the bottom.


    I entered December with the hopes of avoiding defeat to Juventus, taking 8 points from a possible 12 and keeping 2 clean sheets. Oh and a corner goal if I was to be really ambitious. We started the month with a home tie against Cagliari. It was a cagey affair until the 62nd minute when midfield maestro Marcelo Brozovic was dismissed. My thoughts then switched to a "Don't get beaten mentality" for 4 minutes before Ivan Perisic chipped in with a goal which was enough to secure a 1-0 win. We then followed this up with another 1-0 victory over Roma. A great result in which was a tricky game. Mauro Icardi scoring towards the end of the first half was enough with our defence stepping up to the mark yet again. Our third game was crucial. Juventus at the San Siro.

    To find out how we got on, where we sit in the league and player profiles go to my blog at:

    Thanks for following!
    josh_brady likes this.

  6. We didn't need you anway

    A full episode below! If you want to read more, check out my blog!

    Welcome back to my next episode of Half Back's journey with Inter: The Forgotten Milan. This episode will cover all of January and the transfer window where you could say we were active.
    January was to be a tough month with us facing Napoli and our city rivals AC Milan in our first two games after the Christmas break.


    We kick started the month with Napoli. The first half saw us start very sluggish. Maybe we ate too much Pizza over Christmas. At half time we were 1-0 down and didn't look like we were up to much. Want away striker and club captain Mauro Icardi was not performing what so ever and didn't look interested at half time. He was subbed instantly with youngster Gabriel Barbosa taking his place. 45 minutes later and we have won 5-1 with Gabriel Barbosa scoring 2 goals. What a performance from the youngster. Our next game was our big game. AC Milan. Following his performance last week I decided it was only right for Barbosa to keep his place. 12 minutes in and we conceded due to a Calhanoglu free kick. I weren't confident. Barbosa stepped up and proved me wrong, a goal in the first half levelled it up, then 2 minutes from time he scored again to wrap up a massive derby win. 2-1 to Inter. Next up was our first round cup game against Bologna. We moved through into the second round with a 1-0 win, but that's not important. Our next game was away against an inform Fiorentina side, and we knew this wouldn't be easy. We got off to a good start and Candreva put us ahead. We continued to dominate the game but we just couldn't score that crucial second goal. Kalinic put us to the sword ten minutes from time scoring an equaliser from 20 yards, we couldn't fight back and it was a draw. Our final game of the month, Sampdoria at home. Easy. We dispatched of them 4-0 and that rounded off the month in style.
    [gallery ids="776,777,778" type="rectangular"]

    Look closely at my goalscorers, and you might just see a new signing on the scoresheet.
    Following his tantrums and wanting to leave I eventually sold Icardi to Liverpool for £48 Million. Now I had to find someone suitable to play as my Shadow Striker in the AMC role. Would you believe it, Isco was on the transfer list for just £31 Million pounds. A bargain in my opinion. Isco was signed and low and behold he scored 2 goals on his debut. We didn't need Icardi anyway.
    Not much of an exciting news item, but we had 5, yes 5 players in the team of the month. Not bad going!

    Season targets:
    • Top 4 finish – Ongoing
    • Semi final of the Coppa Italia – Ongoing
    • 19 league clean sheets (50% of all games) – 13/19
    • Average possession of +55% across the season – 55.23%
    • 6 goals from corners – 2/6 (Maybe we need to rethink our tactics)
    Monthly targets for January:
    • 8 Points from 12 - 10 points
    • Avoid defeat against AC Milan - 2-1 win
    • 2 Clean sheets - 2 Clean sheets
    • Cup victory - 1-0 Win
    Monthly targets for February:
    • 9 points from 12
    • 3 Clean sheets
    • Cup win
    • 1 goal from a corner
    Player Profiles:
    12. Gary Medel
    Gary has been a key player for us in the middle of the park. His non stop work rate alongside his desire to get involved in he final third has seen him rack up 5 goals, 6 assists, 93% passing average and a 7.53 average rating. Gary will be a key player for years to come I hope.

    77. Marcelo Brozovic
    Another player who has been a rock in the middle. He has partnered Medel for the majority of the season and has chipped in with an average rating of 7.29. Not bad at all! At just 24 years old Brozovic has a big future ahead of him and I hope he will learn a lot playing alongside Medel.

    5. Roberto Gagliardini
    Roberto is currently on loan from Atlanta and will be joining us permanantly in the summer. Roberto has been on the edge of the starting 11 all season but just can't break in ahead of Brozovic, Medel and Kondogbia. His time will come. He has performed well in his limited appearances and I hope this continues in the future.

    That's the end of this episode and we will be back very shortly with an update on February, a target review and player profiles on Ivan Perisic, Antonio Candreva and new signing Isco.
    Thanks again for reading.
    Grazie e arrivederci

  7. A step into the lions den and an end of season review

    Season 1 is now complete!

    Check out here how we got on:

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