Yuto Nagatomo slips to hand Inter Milan defeat against Napoli
Inter lost a drab home game against Napoli on Sunday evening, thanks to a catastrophic Yuto Nagatomo slip-up. Having just about held on for most of the first half, the Nerazzurri saw all their work go up in flames when the Japan defender clumsily flicked the ball right into Jose Callejon's path.
Napoli hit the post, but once the deadlock was broken, Stefano Pioli's men showed their limits going forward and never created a dangerous chance to get back in the game.
It wasn't a landslide. Barring Nagatomo, the back line was reactive to Napoli's dribbling, without overly exposing the defence. That's about it.
Inter only ever sustained an attack because of where the ball happened to bounce, whether it was out for a throw in or a casual rebound; Eder had another anonymous game; Marcelo Brozovic is a nightmare. Inter feel like a Formula One team, picking players because of how much financial backing/commercial value they bring. That No. 10 position has been a sinkhole for Inter this season.
Manager rating out of 10
4 -- Changed his formation again before a big game, where having an established lineup where the players know each other off by heart is essential. To his credit, Pioli had Inter looking disciplined at the back but at the other end, however, the Nerazzurri were clueless. Counter-attacking football is supposed to be incisive. The Italian deserves respect for playing attacking players, but the midfield just looked overstretched when Inter were in possession. The substitutions were disastrous, too.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Samir Handanovic, 7 -- Kept the score respectable. Did extremely well to palm away a deflected Dries Mertens effort during a lightning Napoli attack. Came off his line well to counter the Belgian, and made another quick save to his right.
DF Danilo D'Ambrosio, 6 -- Tried to get things going with Antonio Candreva, even though he never beat his man. Didn't let Lorenzo Insigne coast past him.
DF Jeison Murillo, 6 -- Lost Mertens a couple of times but came off his line well to tackle and anticipate well. Went off after playing with his head bandaged for an hour. Used his physicality.
DF Gary Medel, 5 -- Fought hard to make up for some positional errors. Did well to recover on Mertens on a clever through ball but sloppily botched a clearance that nearly let Napoli in a second time.
DF Yuto Nagatomo, 1 -- The least said about that horrific clearance, the cross he put in to absolutely nobody, or the turnover he'd previously gifted Napoli, the better.
MF Marcelo Brozovic, 4 -- Very sloppy. A slap in the face for Pioli, who took a big risk in playing the Croatian only to see him slow the play down and lose possession frequently. He had a thankless task, as the team was too stretched. Has forgotten how to take corners.
MF Roberto Gagliardini, 5 -- Started poorly and looked slow at times, costing some big turnovers. Then again, his passing range helped Inter make progress and switch play between the flanks. Though clearly not enough.
MF Antonio Candreva, 6 -- Was remarkably sharp in the first half, finding teammates with aplomb and trying to work with D'Ambrosio. Good defensive contribution but struggled to beat his man, however.
MF Joao Mario, 5 -- Just not his game. Ironically played like Ever Banega would have: struggling to participate either defensively or offensively. It was a pity, because the ex-Sporting man started out well.
MF Eder, 5 -- The desire is there, but playing someone so attacking has its downsides, especially when the Brazilian still doesn't seem to have found his role. Was supposed to provide Icardi with a foil, but just left him alone.
FW, Mauro Icardi, 5 -- Kept being beaten to the ball, but received almost no service, either. Had a sloppy game from a technical perspective.
MF, Ivan Perisic, 5 -- It's a good job that he didn't start: clearly looked like his injury affected him, slowing Inter down and struggling to make it past his man.
DF, Marco Andreolli, N/R -- He's still here? Came on to provide relief for Murillo.
MF, Ever Banega, N/R -- Made some nice interesting, overhit forward passes. Came on too late to make an impact.
Edoardo Dalmonte covers Inter Milan for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @EdoDalmonte.