After a torrid 85 days in charge, with his side sitting in 12th position in the Serie A after a 1-0 loss at Sampdoria, head coach Frank De Boer’s time in charge has come to an end after being sacked on Tuesday the 1st November.
The sacking will by no means come across as a surprise to Inter fans, media or followers of Italian football. Seven defeats in 14 games (all competitions) was ultimately unacceptable for ambitious new Chinese owners “Suning” who had outlaid a net spend of almost €120 million in the summer.
After being hired barely two weeks prior to the beginning of the season, the former Ajax manager’s job to win over the expectant fans and media was made all the more difficult on the first day of the season; a shock 2-0 defeat at the hands of Chievo.
De Boer was unable to regard the Thursday night schedule of Europa League fixtures as any sort of welcome distraction as Inter suffered two humiliating losses in September at the hands of Hapoel Be’er Sheva and Sparta Prague respectively as calls for the Dutchman’s head were already being called for three weeks into the season.
The turbulent start to the campaign was made all the more problematic for De Boer by a series of negative occurrences that have amassed to a very unhappy Inter camp with a clear morale issue.
Eder’s refusal to shake hands with De Boer after his substitution in the Sampdoria defeat made clear for all to see this was not a team who were playing for the manager. Gabriel Barbosa; the £29.5m signing from Santos has struggled to make any sort of impact and further negative publicity was gathered by his conspicuous absence in the Sampdoria fixture. This is a player who was billed as one of world football hottest young properties and the Nerazzuri had supposedly beaten off the likes of Man Utd, Barcelona and Juventus for his signature. One of Inter’s most influential midfielders Marcelo Brozovic was frozen out of the squad by De Boer for indiscipline. If matters were not challenging enough for the Nerazzuri, captain Mauro Icardi created an aggressive public argument with the club’s Ultras after a chapter in his recent autobiography that entailed a threat to unleash 100 criminals from Argentina in relation to an argument with supporters after a defeat to Sassuolo in 2015. At the next San Siro fixture, a banner read in english from the Curva Nord “You are not a man. You are not a captain. Just a vile piece of s***”.
For De Boer, 46, who was heavily linked in the early part of the summer with the Premier League vacancies at Everton and Southampton, this will no doubt be a learning curve for an aspiring young manager. However, many will feel that the Inter experience may be nothing but a blight on his CV as it will be questioned whether he should have ever taken the job in the first place. Having being hired immediately after Mancini’s sacking; 12 days before the start of the season, the Dutchman was denied a full pre-season to work with his players. This issue became so clear for all to see as the players appeared totally unfamiliar with his tactical methods from the first game of the season (particularly his unexpected 3-5-2 formation choice in the Chievo season opener).
The summer recruitment is an area that has been frankly completely mismanaged. Heavy investment was paid into star-quality attacking options seemingly without any comprehension in how to accommodate these individual talents into any strategic system to move the team forward domestically to challenge for the top 4 as a minimum. Joao Mario (£30m from Sporting Lisbon), Ever Banega, Antonio Candreva and 20-year old Gabigol (€25 million from Santos) have all been drafted in but have just not gelled and the defensive recruitment has been just as poor. Andrea Ranocchia and Jeison Murillo have proved error-prone and are not up to the standard the former 2010 Champions League holders should expect. Caner Erkin, a Turkish left back signed from Fernabache in June was sent on loan to Besiktas on the 30th August.
Youth team coach Stefano Vecchi took charge of Inter’s Europa League tie last night at St. Mary’s where they lost 2-1 at Southampton after leading through a Mauro Icardi opener.
The Nerazzuri now look for their ninth manager since Jose Mourinho’s departure in 2010.