It was less than 24 hours after the Derby della Madonnina that Massimo Moratti revealed the future of Andrea Stramaccioni and the coaching future at Inter Milan. Would the former Primavera coach simply be a stopgap in the Nerazzurri managerial merry-go-round or had he earned a full-time position at the club next season?
Talking to Sky Sport Italia, he stated,
“I will confirm Stramaccioni as the new permanent coach. He has proved his class and experience in a derby that really excited me.”
Just earlier, Inter had turned in a magnificent performance, defeating AC Milan 4-2 in a game that effectively knocked the Rossoneri out of the Scudetto race (With their loss, Juventus won the trophy after winning 2-0 at Cagliari). This marks newfound stability, as Inter will be heading into next season with the same coach and same sense of identity.
When Andrea Stramaccioni took the reigns as manager of Inter on March 26, the club was experiencing a dark age of sorts. Gian Piero Gasperini and Claudio Ranieri had failed to achieve any success, let alone consistency for the Nerazzurri. Some of the losses were, simply put, downright embarrassing. Two losses to newly promoted Novara, a 0-3 home defeat to Bologna, and losing 4-0 to Roma at the Stadio Olimpico were perhaps the lowlights of the 2011-12 season.
When Ranieri was sacked, the 36-year old Stramaccioni was promoted. Few people outside Inter’s fan base knew who he was; the move was initially met with skepticism. His only source of exposure up to that point in time was leading Inter’s Primavera squad as they became the first-ever champions of the NextGen series, a Champions League-type tournament involving the youth systems of clubs all over Europe.
Stramaccioni’s arrival at the senior club was met with many questions, most of which seemed ominous. How would he handle the team’s recent form? How would he change the club’s tactics? What would he do with the slumping Wesley Sneijder? How would he handle the job of instructing veteran players who were similar in age, some of whom were actually older than him?
With a wild 5-4 victory over Siena in his first game in charge, Stramaccioni blazed an incredible trail and has not looked back. The Nerazzurri have claimed 17 out of 24 possible points in the eight games their young caretaker has managed. A wild run from the middle of the table towards vying for a third-place spot (Champions League next season) has epitomized the newfound spirit that Inter has played with under Stramaccioni. Sneijder has returned from injuries and chipped in three goals in his last five games.
From a tactical point of view, Stramaccioni’s Inter has taken on several diverse shapes, from a wide 4-3-3 emphasizing wing play to a narrow 4-3-1-2 formation which helped spark the renaissance of Sneijder as the club’s trequartista (typical number 10) position. In several of the matches, he has adjusted mid-game and found results. The game against AC Milan featured a 4-3-1-2 which turned into an unbalanced 4-4-1-1 which found Ricky Alvarez moving inside to play trequartista, Sneijder playing wide left, and Maicon making surging runs from the right flank, eventually leading to his thunderous goal that killed the match.
On the heels of this powerful victory in the derby, Stramaccioni had certainly justified an appointment to be Inter’s official manager. A small caveat in all of this is that Stramaccioni has yet to acquire a UEFA Pro License, the highest-ranked coaching license obtainable and the license that is required to become a head coach/manager of a professional UEFA club. Currently, the Rome native has the second-highest degree, a UEFA “A” License, with which he is allowed to serve as an interim (caretaker) manager. Surely, he will go through the procedures that are required to obtain the Pro License.
All license drama aside, Stramaccioni has been diligently assisted by longtime coach Giuseppe Baresi (brother of AC Milan and Azzurri legend Franco Baresi). His tenure with the Primavera squad shows that he is somewhat familiar with the “Inter way” and has an understanding of how the club wants to operate as an organization. Admittedly, he has the Nerazzurri playing a new brand of attacking football that fans have not seen from the club.
With that being said, it only seemed logical that Inter management extend Stramaccioni for the 2012-13 season, considering what he has done with a squad that appeared to have been “washed up” and a laughingstock in Serie A less than three months ago. It will be very interesting to see what kind of players will be pursued in the upcoming summer transfer window. The transactions will reflect what kind of football Stramaccioni wants this club to play in the future, and if it’s anything like what we’ve seen the last eight games, then it seems promising; it’s been an incredible experience for the 36-year old with a law degree.