Fri, 26 Feb 2021

By Sportswriter Yao Youming and Zhao Yingbo

XI'AN, China, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- After defeating AC Milan 3-0 in the Milan Derby on Sunday, Inter Milan has a chance to end its Italian Serie A drought since 2010 in the ongoing 2020-2021 season.

As one of the most popular European football clubs in China, here are three things Inter needs to do before aiming to win its 19th league trophy.

CHEMISTRY

During the clash with old rival AC Milan, Antonio Conte found the operating instructions for both Christian Eriksen and Ivan Perisic. The midfield duo not only created several chances on offense but also helped play a big role in the defensive structure.

Eriksen struggled to find his feet after joining Inter in January 2021, while Perisic recently returned from Bundesliga powerhouse Bayern Munich after a one-year-loan. Chinese netizens said that the duo's good performances helped Inter "save around 80 million euros fees in the transfer market".

While Inter Milan's performance has undulated in recent years, this season started with a bang as Inter smashed Benevento 5-2, but it only managed one win in the next five games. What's more, after beating Crotone 6-2 in the 15th round, Inter lost to Sampdoria 2-1 in the 16th round.

The team needs to build on its chemistry to find the kind of consistency needed to win a Seria A title.

TACTICS

Conte's 3-5-2 formation is the foundation for Inter to chase the Serie A title. However, the lack of tactical adaptability in key games also leads to the team's exit in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League and failure to reach the final of the Coppa Italia.

In the Champions League, Inter failed to defeat FC Shakhtar Donetsk in their two clashes, while failing to reach the second round. In the second leg of the Coppa Italia semifinal Inter, who dominated, couldn't break Juventus' defensive line. The two exits are related to Inter's dogmatic tactical structure.

In the Milan Derby, Inter's goals almost all came on the counter-attack. When teams sit back, Inter often finds it hard to break down the defenses.

Although Inter beat Lazio and AC Milan consecutively, when facing Genova, who only suffered one defeat in the latest eight games, Inter has to prepare for a tough game.

ATMOSPHERE

Inter hasn't won a major trophy for around a decade. The hope of ending that drought will put intense pressure on the players and coaches.

The team had a good start in the 2017-2018 season but failed to record a victory in nine consecutive games in December 2017. In the 2019-2020 season, Inter's dreams of silverware suffered a setback after being beaten by Sevilla 3-2 in the final of the Europa League.

How Inter deals with these pressures will determine how far the side can go in the league this year.

Veterans such as Aleksandar Kolarov, Ashley Young, and Perisic, should help the younger players handle the mental stress.

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