Realistic Goals for Inter Milan in Serie A This Season

Matteo BonettiContributor IAugust 2, 2013

MILAN, ITALY - APRIL 07:  Ricardo Alvarez (L) of FC Internazionale Milano celebrates his second goal with team mates during the Serie A match between FC Internazionale Milano and Atalanta BC at San Siro Stadium on April 7, 2013 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Inter is coming off a season where they finished ninth overall in Serie A and were tied for having the second-worst defense in the league, conceding 57 goals.

It was a tale of two halves for the Milanese side. They were responsible for ending the near historic 49-match undefeated streak of Juventus in the first half of the season, but dropped off considerably after Christmas, going as far as gaining one point in their last five matches of the season.

Not being in any European competitions this year, the Nerazzurri will be able to concentrate on getting back into the top five so they become a more attractive team for potential signings.

This calendar year, Massimo Moratti has made a few key changes, aiming toward a youth project by purchasing the likes of Mauro Icardi, Mateo Kovacic and exchanging Antonio Cassano for Parma striker Ishak Belfodil in the summer.

Despite the new additions, Inter looked alarmingly slow against Chelsea in their friendly competition, and the defense hardly seemed to be improved after new coach Walter Mazzarri switched to a three-man defensive scheme.

This coming season, it will be very difficult for the Nerazzurri to secure a place among the top three in Serie A. Juventus are the Scudetto favorites, while the likes of Napoli and Fiorentina have improved drastically. Also, Milan, Lazio and Roma haven't gotten any weaker.

You'd have to figure Inter is still a notch below the teams mentioned above. However, even securing a Europa League spot would be a significant step up from last year's catastrophic spell under the maligned young coach Andrea Stramaccioni.

Inter has a few things going for them—they still have a potent strike force with Diego Milito coming back from injury. Alongside him, Rodrigo Palacio was probably their best performer last season and should be Inter's highest scorer yet again.

It will be interesting to see how the new additions do, as well as observing the development of young starlet Mateo Kovacic, who's an exceptionally gifted creative midfielder. 

It's going to be an uphill battle for Mazzarri's men, but you have to figure they'll improve their position from last year.