Let’s face it, the last two games against Cagliari (5-1) and Atalanta (7-1) boosted Stefano Pioli’s chance to remain at the helm of Inter in the upcoming season. Fluid attacking, solid defence, 12 goals in two games and even the endorsement received by the Curva Nord (chanting ‘Noi vogliamo Stefano Pioli’) is no mean feat for an Inter coach. Add the fact he’s an Inter supporter and you have all the ingredients for the perfect coach.
But we’re talking about just a couple of games, and this newly-found aura surrounding Pioli should not hinder the club’s thinking for next year. 2018 must be the definite year where the Nerazzurri return to winning ways. And by that I mean trophies.
It is in this context that Pioli should be replaced by either Simeone or Conte. I will list some reasons why.
Firstly, Pioli never delivered under pressure. See all the relevant direct encounters: Juventus (0-1), Roma (1-3), Napoli (0-3), Lazio (Coppa Italia, 1-2). It is not a question of luck, as Inter’s performances against Roma and Napoli were nothing less than a pure tactical disaster.
Secondly, Pioli’s Inter is already rather predictable. From a tactical point of view, opponents just need to hold off Inter’s flanks and Icardi is already cut-off and isolated. Do you think it’s just a coincidence that Inter are the most European team that crosses into the box?
Thirdly, Pioli can never have the full backing of the club or supporters. Imagine a negative streak hitting Inter’s Pioli next season. Do you think the club and fans will keep square behind him no matter what as they see their club on the brink of another failed season one more time?
For the three points mentioned above, both Diego Simeone and Antonio Conte would pass the test with flying colours as they are proven winners.
Pioli, albeit a very nice guy and a good coach, will be another Stramaccioni if he gets the thumbs up next season. Stramaccioni was handed the reigns of the first squad as ‘interim’ manager in 2012 and after positive streaks of consecutive wins, he was reconfirmed for the next season. But what happened when that positive spell was broken?