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Between next month’s busy schedule and the need to manage energy, Inzaghi relaunches the Croatian in the midfield trio against Udinese
After the caution, which translated into a soft return, now is the time to break the delay. This goes for Marcelo Brozovic, who is about to return to the limelight and finally leave behind the most troubled period from a physical point of view since he joined the Nerazzurri. But it also applies to Inter, who need fresh forces especially in the middle of the field in view of a crucial tour de force in the next month between the championship and the Champions League. The clips collected by the Croatian against Milan and Sampdoria, for a total of scarce 45′ on the pitch, are a prelude to a return as starter which, in the light of the “overtime” to which the Barella-Calhanoglu-Mkhitaryan trio was subjected, for the technician becomes almost a necessity.
The data for the last month and a half, on the other hand, speak for themselves: except for rare moments, the face of the Nerazzurri midfield has almost always been identical, with Mkhitaryan clocking in ten times out of ten against nine for Calhanoglu and eight by Barella. The result, at the halfway point of the season already consumed, is a playing time of about 2,000 minutes already on the legs of all three, that is to say more than double what Brozovic has collected so far. The difficulties of Gagliardini and Asllani added to the amazing performance of Calha and Mkhi have in fact pushed Inzaghi to keep a midfielder unchanged which, however, by continuing at this pace, risks overloading. In addition to the need to manage energy, there is also the need to recover quickly a Brozovic at full speed, able to keep up with the pace from start to finish while always keeping the engine revs high.
This, in all likelihood, is the reason for the measured return of the Croatian, whom some expected to start as early as last Monday in Genoa against Sampdoria. Inzaghi, on the other hand, preferred to go easy, also because this year Marcelo already has 80 days of forced stoppage on his back and 17 games missed due to various ailments (two in the calf, the same in the thigh). The torments of the last few months, moreover, are an absolute novelty for a Brozovic who, until last year, had never had to stop for more than 30 days a season. It is therefore understandable that the technician wanted to tread lightly, but now the time is ripe. Brozovic responded well both in the derby and against the Ligurians. If anything, what is still lacking is the rhythm of the match, the one that the Croatian can find in tonight’s match against Udinese, so as to be at the top again for Wednesday’s European appointment against Porto.
The risk for Inzaghi is to undermine the new balance found in the middle with Calha as director, but to better face the rest of the season there is also a need for the old Brozovic. On the other hand, it certainly can’t be a few months on the sly that cancel out the importance and specific weight of the Croatian midfielder in the Nerazzurri’s game economy. But Inzaghi is nonetheless called to balance ever-changing balances, moods and collective mechanisms, hence the decision to preserve the Croatian and “squeeze” Mkhitaryan. With the arrival of the Champions League, however, a new phase opens up, the decisive one. The one in which Brozovic aims to take back the reins of the Nerazzurri midfield.
February 18 – 08:22
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