Any football fan is probably familiar with the word Catenaccio. The word is obviously an Italian one and it describes the very famous defensive Italian style of play. Italy’s national team and biggest clubs were able to win major European and world trophies by sticking to this philosophy’s basics. Nowadays, Serie A is seeing more fluid football, more goals and more attacking play but defending remains the key as Inter’s season shows us.
After 12 Serie A ronds, Inter share the top spot with Fiorentina with each side mounting up to 27 points. Roma lie in third with 26 and Napoli with 25. Despite Roma and Napoli playing arguably the best football around and Fiorentina dominating possession in all of their games, the Nerazzuri remain the most consistent side of all. Inter have only scored 12 goals, an average of one goal per game is enough to put them on top of the league. Roberto Mancini was able to grab seven 1-0 wins and a single 2-1 win. Meanwhile Roma have scored a total of 27 goals (more than the double of Inter) yet they remain one point behind their rivals.
Scoring goals does not guarantee wins. Roma, Fiorentina and Napoli have all scored more than 20 goals this term but defensively speaking Inter remain the best with only 7 goals conceded. Serie A is very unique league and Roberto Mancini knows it well. His previous experience has taught him that in order to win the league you need to defend for ninety consecutive minutes but attack and score only once.
Inter’s defensive strength is down to former Granada defender Jeison Murillo who has been essential at the back for his team. In a direct encounter against Roma, it was down to both Samir Handanovic and Murillo that the Giallorossi failed to score for the first time in all competitions this season. The battle for Serie A supremacy is the closest in years and Mancini has the advantage of experience to his side.
Inter are the only team in the top five not involved in Europe this season which gives them even more advantage. Inter are looking to win the Scudetto for the first time since Jose Mourinho left back in 2010 but defending is not enough. Mancini knows well that sooner or later his side will need to improve their game if they are to shake off competition from their three main rivals.