Frank de Boer was appointed Inter coach 12 days before the start of the season, and was reportedly on the brink of the sack four games later. Defeat in Sunday’s Derby d’Italia against Italian champion Juventus could have ended the Dutchman’s short Milanese spell – and surely alerted a few Premier League clubs to his undoubted talent.
The pressure on De Boer had increased after a Europa League loss to Hapoel Beer’Sheva, though it was one in which Inter did not field Gabriel Barbosa, Geoffrey Kondogbia, Stevan Jovetic and Joao Mario, all of whom are ineligible to play because of Financial Fair Play regulations.
However, Inter beat Juventus 2-1, and perhaps the biggest surprise was that it was totally deserved. Mauro Icardi was the hero of the hour, heading home an equalizer just after Stephan Lichsteiner had scored for Juve. Icardi then crossed for Ivan Perisic to score the winner. The victory should end speculation that Fabio Capello is set to return to the San Siro bench, and allow De Boer the time he needs to develop this team.
On the other side, Juve coach Max Allegri was criticized from all sides for his decisions, the biggest of which was leaving Gonzalo Higuain on the bench. “Allegri lost this one,” said the Tuttosport headline. Napoli is the new Serie A leader – Higuain’s replacement Arkadiusz Milik scoring another two goals in the 3-1 win over Bologna – and Inter moves up to sixth.