Inter woeful in all areas during embarrassing loss vs. Crotone
Miserable Inter came back from Calabria with an embarrassing 2-1 loss to a Crotone side fighting relegation. The Nerazzurri let their opponents walk (i.e. run) all over them early on, with Gary Medel handling the ball after being turned inside out to concede a penalty on 19 minutes. Diego Falcinelli sent the spot kick past Samir Handanovic. Three minutes later it was 2-0, when Falcinelli netted again after Danilo D'Ambrosio failed to track his run.
The first half was a slow, mistake-laden performance, certainly the worst we've seen so far this season. Things got a little better after the break, with Inter putting several chances together and pegging one back through D'Ambrosio at 65 minutes.
Move along now, nothing to see here. Eder had a good stint in the second half. Beyond that, it was nice to give Crotone some DVD-worthy material to reminisce over once they're back in Serie B.
Inter's first attack came just before half-time they created only a few chances against one of the worst teams to ever grace the top division. Ignoring the usual hot takes about grit and desire, no tactical reaction was forthcoming in the second half. One can understand being stunned for 45 minutes, but things should have gone completely different after the interval. Jeison Murillo was awful, Medel can't play in midfield anymore. The decision to use two tackling midfielders made no sense. Inter looked confused -- the sign that the formation was wrong -- and tired with Antonio Candreva and Ivan Perisic being run into the ground.
Manager rating out of 10
4 -- This Inter side was completely unprepared for the task ahead -- it's not like Crotone haven't tried this exact blueprint at home before -- and Stefano Pioli's two correct substitutions still left them looking hopeless. Why didn't Eder start? When does Gabigol get a chance? Why does Candreva have to play every game? And why can't someone like Joao Mario be thrown on sooner?
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Samir Handanovic, 6 -- Can't be blamed for either goal and made some nice saves in the second half to keep the score respectable.
DF Danilo D'Ambrosio, 5 -- It's good to see D'Ambrosio the goalmouth demon back, but his oversight allowed Falcinelli to easily breach the defense and tap over Handanovic. Adrian Stoian wore him like a glove in the first half, too.
DF Jeison Murillo, 4 -- Looked like a drunken soldier trying (and failing) to stand to attention. Missed easy passes, lost his man repeatedly and looked completely out of place. A nightmare.
DF Miranda, 6 -- Saved an effort on the line, but still looked like he couldn't quite hack Crotone's physicality. Fluffed a late chance to level the game, but this loss is hardly his fault.
DF Cristian Ansaldi, 5 -- Showed plenty of good drive and contained forays down his wing. Was shoddy in attack, missing a key header when Candreva was completely unmarked at the far post. Replaced at half-time.
MF Gary Medel, 4 -- Inter struggled without a possession midfielder and the giving possession away too often and fell over the ball to concede the penalty.
MF Geoffrey Kondogbia, 4 -- Ouch. The tackling looked fine, but that wasn't his job. He lost possession ahead of the chance that gifted Crotone the penalty and looked slow and stilted on the ball. To his credit, he headed on to D'Ambrosio for the consolation and kept plugging away.
MF Antonio Candreva, 5 -- Put in plenty of running, but it says a lot that he was more remarkable for his defensive contribution. Looked tired and failed to have much of an impact.
MF Ever Banega, 5 -- Actually the only Inter player to try to direct the ball forward with any accuracy. Provided some juicy crosses and a few nice flicks and played better from a deeper position, but still got lost in the fray.
MF Ivan Perisic, 5 -- Flashed a promising volley wide, but somehow always seems to have more of an impact than Candreva. Can actually drive the team forward in this kind of form.
FW Mauro Icardi, 5 -- Hardly to blame if the ball barely got anywhere near him in the first half, but he looked slow in the second, despite helping out whenever he could.
FW Eder, 7 -- The Italo-Brazilian's ability to shake things up could be proof that he deserves a bigger role. Hit the post and kept running.
FW Rodrigo Palacio, 6 -- Nice turn and finish to keep Alex Cordaz on his toes, and slotted in well on the wing, allowing Candreva to turn inside.
MF Joao Mario, NR -- Came on too late, but has a great eye for the pass. Couldn't he have started instead of Medel?
Edoardo Dalmonte covers Inter Milan for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @EdoDalmonte.