本文翻译自内拉记者James J Piscopo。以下是原文：
Inter vs Juventus was always going to be a big game. As I stood there in San Siro two hours before the game, I didn’t fear Juventus. I was sure our players could live up to expectations and start the game aggressively, taking the initiative to try and score while closing down every space.
And that’s how it started. From the very first touches of the ball I was happy to note the willingness of our players to win this game, while our opponents committed some basic errors as if they were fearing what’s coming next. A fabolous Nainggolan volley, serious contender for goal of the year, ascertained this supremacy.
We wasted various chances but I was thoroughly pleased with our game. It underlined the notion that Juventus are not unbeatable after all, they have weaknesses to be taken advantage of.
No, I didn’t fear Juventus.
But I did fear Spalletti.
After all, last year was still fresh in mind when we were leading Juventus with 10-man before he somehow decided to replace Icardi with Santon 5 minutes from the end, enabling Juventus to score twice in the remaining last minutes.
Unfortunately, in my opinion this year was more of the same.
From the stands I could note that after some time, Perisic didn’t accompany anymore our counter-attacks, leaving Nainggolan, Politano and Icardi alone. When he did accompany, he was always late and the ball was already at the feet of the Bianconeri. Another dismal performance. Yet Spalletti did not subbed him out, substituting instead the well-playing Politano.
To make things worse, Spalletti didn’t substitute Politano with another attacking winger like Keita Balde, but with the more defensive Joao Mario. Yes, Spalletti absurdly thought that the same Portugal man who was an incognito for around two years, will shine on this difficult night. As predicted, he was wrong.
All San Siro was trying to push the Nerazzurri for a victory. But all San Siro knew that you can’t win with Borja and Joao Mario if you did not make it with Nainggolan and Politano.
Inter vs Juventus was always going to be a big game. And such fixtures require a lot of courage and risk-taking. On one hand, Allegri did not hesitate to replace the defensive Matuidi with another striker, paying dividends with an immediate goal, but our Spalletti was too afraid to introduce Lautaro Martinez alongside Icardi.
It’s clear that our manager was very satisfied with a draw. But the rest of San Siro wasn’t. Supporting Inter is also a question of pride and passion and not just merely a mathematical equation of garnering enough points to qualify for the Champions League. It was another point showcasing that Spalletti and Inter may have different aspirations.
What I’m highlighting with this article is the power of change. In football terms, guessing the right substitutions can win you important games as underlined in the Inter-Juventus games. But this also applies for the longer term, if we want to aspire for greater things, or at least for the certainty to play against old rivals with the hunger to win and not just draw, we need change on who leads the bench as well.
It’s clear that Marotta is pushing for the Conte alternative, determined that the former Juve, Chelsea and Italy coach is the right man to take us to the next level. A course of action which the Club owners seem not to be enthusiastic about as it will cost them around €20 million. That may seem a large sum, but it’s actually less than how much Inter paid for Dalbert.
As a result, the confirmation or not of Spalletti will also reflect Suning’s ambitions for Inter. If they merely desire Champions League football they will keep Spalletti. But if they want more…
James J Piscopo is a journalist based in Malta. At 27 years old, he has been following Inter for more than two decades. He writes a weekly editorial exclusively for SempreInter.com.