Paddy Agnew explains what went wrong for Frank De Boer at Inter.
Inter Milan’s turbulent season continued apace today when the club sacked Dutch coach Frank De Boer, just 84 days after his surprise August appointment as a replacement for coach Roberto Mancini.
Inter finally ran out of patience with the Dutchman following a Sunday night 1-0 away loss to Sampdoria, his seventh defeat in 14 official games. It is now expected that De Boer will be replaced by former Lazio coach, Stefano Pioli
De Boer’s brief time at Inter was nothing if not “lively”. Arguing that Inter probably have too big a squad, he made little use of Brazilians Felipe Melo and Gabriel Barbosa. Furthermore he had disciplinary clashes with Frenchman Geoffrey Kondogbia and Croat Marcelo Brozovic, dropping both players for a while.
On top of that, his spell in charge was also blighted by a clash between club captain, Argentine Mauro Icardi and the club’s Ultra fans, prompted by the publication of Icardi’s autobiography. Even if this spat had nothing to do with De Boer, it still probably cost his Inter three home points when they lost 1-2 to Cagliari on a day when the clearly unsettled Icardi missed a first half penalty.
On the pitch, De Boer’s Inter rarely looked like a solid, cohesive unit which knew what it wanted to do. Rather, his side tended to rely heavily on the individual brilliance of players such as Icardi, Croat Ivan Perisic and Antonio Candreva. On the pitch, too, his Inter went from the sublime to the ridiculous, beating champions Juventus 2-1 in Serie A but losing Europa League games to Sparta Prague and to Israeli side Hapoel Be’er Sheva.
In a comuniqué today, Inter confirmed the sacking of De Boer, adding that youth team coach Stefano Vecchi will “momentarily” be in charge of the team and will sit on the bench for their Thursday Europa League tie away to Southampton. Media reports speculate that De Boer’s long term replacement will be ex-Lazio coach, Stefano Pioli, although it is not clear if Pioli will be appointed in time for Sunday’s home game versus Crotone.
Even though, Italian sports media had taken it for granted that De Boer would be sacked in the wake of the Sampdoria defeat, the Dutchman still presented himself for training at Appiano Gentile this morning, to prepare Thursday’s game with Southampton. Even if his 12 week stint at Inter finished badly, De Boer can at least take comfort from a €1.3 million severance pay clause in his contract. Expressing his disappointment via his Instagram profile today, he commented:
“It’s a pity it finished this way but more time was needed for this project. I want to thank all the fans for the support they have shown me in these months. Forza Inter”.
In hindsight, questions must now be asked about the wisdom of the decision on the part of the club’s Chinese-Indonesian ownership to change coach just 12 days before the start of the Serie A season.
The new coach, Stefano Pioli, will be Inter’s ninth coach in six years since the club lifted the Serie A-Champions League-Italian Cup treble in 2010 under the guideance of “Special One” José Mourinho.