De Boer on the brink, Inter crisis, Icardi-gate: Nima Tavallaey has his say
Inter are going through hard times having lost five of the opening ten games of the campaign. Not only the team is struggling on the pitch, but there are also many issues regarding the club’s organization and the Icardi-gate.
Calciomercato.com has had a chat with Inter pundit Nima Tavallaey who believes Inter fans shouldn’t lose faith.
Do you agree with the club’s decision to confirm Mauro Icardi as Inter’s captain?
Absolutely. True, Icardi's statements in his autobiography regarding what happened after the Sassuolo fixture were incredibly unnecessary and childish, not to mention in lack of a better word stupid in the sense that he must have known that the ultras would interpret the tone in the book as confrontational.
However, it's his autobiography, meaning he was telling his side of the story, and the infantile macho tone aside, Icardi was in a broader sense trying to prove a point that the Ultras have too much power at the club. The passage about how he was greeted as a hero in the dressing-room only further illustrates this point and in all fairness, he definitely has a point. In no other of Europe's top 4 leagues would the Ultras command such great power as they have in Italy, and personally I think this must change. It's 2016 not 1986 and sure the Ultras are hardcore fans who sacrifice a lot in terms of time & money to support Inter, however they aren't the only fans at the stadium.
The book’s publication was approved by the club. Could Inter have managed the whole thing a bit better?
This is the part that truly confuses me. How on earth could the club allow the book to be published without having read it first?! Sure, Inter have no right to suppress Icardi's democratic right to express himself, however if the book had been proofread beforehand then this discussion as to how appropriate it would have been to include the particular passage in question could have taken place in private instead of in this chaotic manner which has shaken the club to its core. Also, if it had been read beforehand by someone at the club who then gave it a green light, then a) that person must be sacked immediately or b) if not, then the club shouldn't have punished Icardi and stood by him. There's really no two ways about it.
The Icardi-gate is kind of hiding the team’s problems. Do you think De Boer is the main responsible for the squad’s poor results?
I don't agree that Icardi-gate is hiding the team's problems or that Inter has that many problems on the pitch. Right or wrong, Inter's poor performances in the Europa League are nothing more than an indication that the club is focusing entirely on the Serie A in order to at the very least secure the 3rd spot. Let's not forget that only a few weeks ago Inter won 3 matches in a row with the highlight being the win against Juventus, where De Boer and the entire team showed that they were on the right track and gave a masterclass.
There's no doubt in my mind that if it wasn't for this, pardon my language, poo-storm a la Donald Trump, Inter would have won the match against Cagliari. The team is good enough and during normal circumstances the team's captain wouldn't have looked so nervous which means that the rest of the team also wouldn't have acted the way they did. As the Chinese saying goes: a fish rots from the head down.
Tactically De Boer isn't to blame for the loss against Cagliari, however from a psychological point of view, I honestly think De Boer completely messed up when he didn't do what I'm adamant Mourinho, Klopp, Ancelotti, Guardiola etc would have done in this situation: talk to Icardi and give him the match off and then categorically deny to the media that Icardi isn't being punished but due to the current turbulent situation the best thing to do for him and his family, the club, the fans and the atmosphere around the team, is to simply not take part in this match. That way De Boer would have stood up for his captain, he would have protected the team and he would have given the fans a chance to express their anger but they would have supported the team instead of the shameful scenes we saw with the Curva applauding when Icardi missed a penalty.
Would De Boer manage to keep the job in case of defeat against Southampton in Europa League?
I most certainly hope he does! Sacking De Boer 8 matches into the Serie A season is a huge mistake of biblical proportions. This club needs stability and piece of mind, sacking De Boer would mean that Inter are admitting that they are completely clueless and I honestly can't imagine that the club's directors have seriously considered this but that these are all unfounded rumors.
As I mentioned above, I genuinely don't think Inter are focusing on the Europa League. This season is all about breaking into the top 3 in the Serie A.
Would you keep him or sack him?
Definitely keep him. I was not exactly happy when they sacked Mancini and brought De Boer in 2 weeks before the season started, given that he has no experience of Italian football. However, now he's here and he MUST be given more than 8 Serie A matches. The only loss I blame him completely for in the Serie A is the opener against Chievo, but the loss against Roma wasn't a disaster as the team played well and Roma are a great home team. And as I mentioned above, the loss against Cagliari was down to this absurd situation.
Which is Inter’s main problem at the moment?
Right now, the biggest problem is that the club doesn't seem to have a strong, what's called in Italian, società. Due to all the changes and uncertainty in the structure of the club, Inter seem to be lost in the sense that they're trying to find themselves structurally.
Will Bolingbroke remain? When will Thohir leave if at all? If so will Moratti return? What power would he have? These are questions that create uncertainty and in turn don't allow the club to have any structural stability. I'm sure that with time all of this will change and things will fall into place, but the sooner it happens the better it will be for Inter as a whole, both on and off the pitch.
Do you feel like Inter should have invested € 30 million for a playmaker or a fullback rather than for Gabigol, who is an amazing talent but has plenty of competition for a spot in the starting XI?
Given everything that happened this past summer the Gabigol signing was the correct move psychologically, both internally but also externally.
Inter did very well in the transfer window bar one aspect: the full-back situation. This has been Inter's Achilles heal since Maicon's hay days and must be addressed during the next two transfer windows as Santon but mainly Nagatomo and D'Ambrosio simply aren't good enough and have demonstrated that they're not good enough over and over again.
I'm not worried about the playmaker situation as above all Banega but also Candreva and Joao Mario to some extent, all have the ability to shoulder this role.
The Gabigol signing was above all a strong and clear sign of intent from Suning that "we mean business." He wasn't signed to dominate right this minute, he has all the time in the world to get back into match-fitness and De Boer is wise to give him that time.
Is the Champions League spot a realistic target for Inter this season?
The Serie A season is only 8 days old and Inter are 5 points behind Roma in second place. So, yes, there is definitely a realistic chance to finish in the top 3, however in order for this to happen the club needs stability both on and off the pitch. I honestly think that Inter are only 1-2 full-backs away from being able to be a serious top 3 contender, but even before the January transfer window, Inter's squad is good enough and has enough depth to cause all teams in the Serie A all sorts of problems.