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What a difference a year makes.
This time last year Andrea Stramaccioni had led Inter's primavera team to victory in the first-ever NextGen Series, then took over for a sacked Claudio Ranieri and led the first team on a strong finish that qualified them for the Europa League and gave the team hope for the future.
Then, he reeled off 10 straight wins in all competitions in the first half of this season, prompting talk that the 2011-12 season was a mere blip on the radar screen for the nerazzurri.
Now, Inter are in crisis. They've won only four matches since the season resumed after the winter break, and Stramaccioni is a major reason why.
Stamaccioni has not been able to settle on a single formation and a set of tactics as a default. He's used 12 different starting formations between Serie A and the Europa League, and as a result, the team has never been able to develop an identity and the on-field chemistry with which to bind their performances together.
Such tactical consistency is important. Serie A leaders Juventus has only deviated from their 3-5-2 formation once this season—into a 4-3-3 that they are familiar with having used for the first half of last season. Second-place Napoli has used a few more formations but all are derived from Walter Mazzarri's basic three-man defensive scheme.
Stramaccioni has used both four- and three-man defensive formations this season. The adjustment between these radically different tactics takes time.
Juventus had their toughest stretch of season last year while they were transitioning from the 4-3-3 to the 3-5-2. Stramaccioni hasn't given his team the time to adapt to one formation, rather changing it match to match, often to tactics that require radically different things of players.
Stramaccioni has recently gotten the dreaded vote of confidence by Massimo Moratti, but privately, there have to be discussions about replacing him with a coach that will allow the team to forge a tactical identity. If Strama doesn't allow Inter to do so, they won't win, and he won't have a job.