5 things we learned from Inter 1-0 Milan

Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images
Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

On Sunday night, I ticked a lifelong ambition (of 19 years) off my bucket list, and that was to attend the Derby della Madonnina at San Siro.

The atmosphere was like nothing I have ever experience. The whole period leading up to the game was strange as I saw families and friends wearing red and black, laughing and joking in antication of an exciting game.

Outside the ground there was what could only be described as a buzz. Vibrancy and energy radiated from the burger vans, and as the sun set over the stadium it was all set for a wonderful evening.

That being said, Milan lost the game despite ultimately playing Inter off the park for large portions of the match. So, what did we learn?

(Photo credit should read OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/Getty Images)

1. Goals win matches

As obvious as this sounds, it is important to remember that the one real piece of quality won the game on Sunday night.

The way that it happened was hugely frustrating for the Rossoneri, as Inter played their way out of huge pressure, taking the ball up the other end where Milan were outnumbered and Fredy Guarin produced a neat finish.

It was an illustration of how crucial it is to be clinical, especially in a game of this magnitude, while Mihajlovic’s side were wasteful at best and lacked penetration at the worst of times.

Aside from Mauro Icardi’s opportunity before the break, nothing really stood out for Inter in terms of clear cut chances, and Diego Lopez had little to do, but the encouraging thing for the Nerazzurri is that they have nine points from nine without playing well in a single game.

Photo credit should read OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/Getty Images

2. Kucka up to the task?

A lot of doubt and, frankly, downright criticism, surrounded the transfer of Kucka to Milan. Many felt he wasn’t the world-class midfielder that Mihajlovic needed to transform his side, and he certainly isn’t that.

However, it would be wrong to ignore his presence during the derby. A consistent threat on right prong of the three man midfield; moving the ball from box to box with intent and doing his fair share on the defensive end of the ball.

Twisting and turning, he also managed to cause problems in the final third on the odd occasion, however his key decision was lacking, as it was for Milan all night, preventing him really seizing the game.

Based on the evidence we saw, he may have that starting position locked down for a while yet.

Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images
Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

3. Super Mario is back?

Mario Balotelli, the pantomime villain himself, almost announced himself on the derby stage in the most remarkable way.

Twice he came within inches of levelling the game, firstly with a shot that hit the left post with Handanovic seemingly beaten, then with an audacious 30 years free kick that nearly snuck in the right corner.

He contributed almost all of the late pressure that came from the red and black. Mario moved well, showed good feet and vision, and ultimately made a lasting impression from a cameo appearance.

No doubt he thrived off the atmosphere, the pressure and the reception from the Curva Nord et al, but I got the impression he is really willing to fight for his place in the team and to fight for the shirt.

He did very well to stay out of trouble as Felipe Melo took the enforcer role and tried to provoke him, and must surely be in serious contention to start against Palermo on Saturday night.

Myself and a Milanista on the Metro after the game agreed that he should play behind Bacca and Luiz Adriano for the next game, so he can be that vital link between the midfield and front two while simultaneously being a huge goal threat.

Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images
Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

4. Rocchi not up to the task

Gianluca Rocchi was a source of frustration during the game on Sunday night.

As a referee who leading up to the derby had issued six red cards in his previous eight Serie A games in charge, it was almost impossible to see him not dishing out another with the various flashpoints that occurred.

The challenges were rough, several times both sets op supporters were up in arms about decisions blatantly being awarded the wrong way, he seemed to guess throw-in decisions and go against his linesmen at will, and he may have missed a turning point as Melo was lucky to stay on.

A high-level and well respected official, Rocchi did himself no favours on Sunday night, failing to seize control of the game and being incredibly inconsistent with decisions on fouls and cards.

He was also not quick enough in picking up on the time wasting techniques from the home side, something which killed the game towards the end and went completely unpunished.

Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images
Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

5. Wins have to come soon

It was a good performance from Milan, take nothing away from the players. They were unlucky on the night and didn’t deserve to leave empty handed. Nonetheless, a little bit of perspective is needed.

Inter have three wins in three without playing well in any of those matches. The sign of a good team is one that finds a way to win no matter what.

I’m not saying the Nerazzurri are instant Scudetto contenders, but they haven’t even jelled yet as a squad, and when they do click they may already be in a great position.

Meanwhile, Milan played well but have lost two of three. It is a big setback and the team will be gutted no matter how much their coach praises them. The results will come if they keep playing like that, but it may be too late to make a serious assault.

That’s why it is imperative to start picking up the points and keep up with the pack at this stage, then when the momentum comes it must be ridden until the objectives of Champions League football can be achieved.

So that’s what I took from one of the most memorable games of football I have ever seen. Not just because I was there, but also because the game meant that little bit extra with the hopes and expectations of both teams and the fact it came so early in the season.

Hopefully the derby in a few months will mean just as much, if not even more.

Articly by Oliver Fisher

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Good job on the article. This is breakpoint for Milan. I would like to say also that Honda was the worst player on the pitch and he can never be Milan’s playmaker. It is time for Bacca Adriano Ballo trio!!!

Forza Milan!!





Manga la Figa

Maybe yes, maybe no. Nobody has given Honda much of a chance. Give him a few more chances but he did do a lot of dirty work and went unseen. My feeling is that he wasn’t great but maybe worth another chance.

ACMilanSince 69

Good article. Point one is the most obvious and often the most forgotten.


Point 4. Honda is not up to the task. Not the ref. Honda does dirty work? Yes he did. However, hos main job is to create moments. He did nothing of sort. Kucka was more impressive than him then something is very wrong. With 2 good strikers infront of him and he was allowed to play in his preferred role, he went anonymous. He should never be given another chance. Drop him with immediate effect


How can you forget to mention Montolivo? He certainly needs to come back to the first team. We have missed his presence because we haven’t got anyone that can pass the ball like Monto at the moment. The creativity in midfield that we’ve been searching is right there for the time being. I would love to see a midfield consisting of Monto – De Jong – Bona/Kucka. Montolivo may be out of position but I believe that he would play well in that role and it would relieve him of a lot of defensive duties so he can focus on… Read more »


So 4-2-3-1?


Yeah, having three attacking mids suits us in my opinion.


I do believe 4-3-1-2 will work but for that Bertolacci must click fast. I believe he is a good player and will come good. DeJong-Bertolacci-Montolivo-Bonaventura would be good enough for me. Bacca last season was always subbed before 70 mins by Emery, I think he has fitness issues, so it would be great if we rotate him, Balo and Adriano. But once Niang and Menez returns, how are we going to keep everyone pleased is beyond me.


A four-man midfield consisting of those guys wouldn’t work. Bertolacci and Bonaventura are pretty much the same.

I totally forgot about Niang which gives us another good reason why we should play with wingers.


there is no chance Inter will win the scudetto.
Inter = Allegri’s Milan, they score one goal, then put 7-9 players on the box for defence.


Just a dose of pessimism- Milan last year played well against Napoli, Lazio,Udinese & Roma at home and Roma away as well but then produced some really shocking performances later like away to Udinese, Lazio etc. So it might be to early to assume that we really have turned the corner. Remember in pre-season, we had a brilliant Beijing trip followed by an awful Audi Cup, then a good TIM cup, Coppa Italia and then very poor 2 serie A games. We have had zero consistency since second half of 2012-13. Hope Miha will see to it. Fun Fact-Did anybody… Read more »


just put it this way….juve hasn’t won a game this season and is only 2 points behind AC Milan…it’s nothing to boast about


I was being sarcastic about our situation.. when you were in Serie B we were UCL champions and now it takes 4 years and an extremely poor Juve performance for us to overtake you at least for 3 weeks… BTW bianconero this is Rossoneri Blog and not for Zebras :P.. anyway congrats on the City win.. Nice performance after going a goal down.. I will support Italian clubs all the way in Europe.. But UCL is never the same without 7 time champs


Comment:milan did well, but Bona and Honda were not really impressive. Bona try to dribble much and mostly lost possession on the way.

Home2j milan

who is cerci let he leave in january for another player he came in the second half and become flop of match

Veer khase

Well he didn’t performed well but you cannot expect a miracle from him after coming in just last 8-9 minutes of the match. He has more pace & creativity than honda , & like monto and balotelli he should also be given some chances to gain his form


though I m a fan of honda. he surely was absent in da ground. so sad to see him making no effort. he seems lost.


It was a solid performance from Milan,though was dissapointed with the final result…..still the performance was enough to take home. Bona,Montolivo and Kucka impressed me.Montolivo especially had a good game. I disagree with people who wanted Mario behind Adriano and Bacca.Not against a huge opponent like Inter are we going to start experimenting. Its too risky add to the fact that Bacca was largely unseen and felt while he lasted on the pitch. I also don’t think Mario will have the right temperament to play behind just yet against Inter at the Sansiro.Imagine Mario losing the ball to an Inter… Read more »


I really wanna see a mid trio of dejong-monto-Kucka/berto. CAM is Bona/Balo/Honda. I really think if somehow miha managed to get dejong and monto playing together our mid will be very good. Bona should just give up the middle, CAM or leave. Chances have been given 3 times in the middle, he cant excel. He instantly do much better at CAM. Honda is legit the poster boy i see, i watched the game twice and he was just not impressive at all! esp thinking bona would have done a much better job. Bacca sub was understandable tho, hes been playing… Read more »


We had a couple of good games last year too… followed by 2-3 horrible ones every time. Honestly a draw would have been fair this time but we didn’t do any progress since last year. Everyone is excited the derby was better but in reality it was still pretty bad. Things I don’t like: Bonaventura, this guy is so over-hyped, he acts like he is a big star on the field, doesn’t run, doesn’t create, doesn’t have vision, doesn’t pass, the only thing he does is hold up play, he has good control of the ball but doesn’t do anything… Read more »


well said bro! how is wish we could try Honda as a side midfielder in the midfield trio


Good article…I would like to see Monte and De Jong on the field at the same time. I disagree with the thought that only one or the other can be on the filed at the same time. Monte is better than Jack, Berto, Honda …maybe older and not as energetic at times….but look at what Pirlo was able to accomplish with Juventus in his old age….the ball will always travel faster than a player can run. Having the vision and ability to ping it around and create in the midfield is just if not more effective than having a guy… Read more »