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Tactical flexibility is a necessity at this level. Managers can make their names at smaller clubs using one rigid system, but at the very top, teams must be able to adapt to their strengths and the opposition's weaknesses.
So far, Mazzarri and Inter have been unwilling to do that. I say unwilling rather than unable because this is not a side built for the manager's preferred system.
Gasperini was attacked on all sides for trying to implement a back three during his tenure, having played exactly the same way during his impressive spell at Genoa. He paid the price for not being able to adapt and use the squad that he was given. In the short term at least, Mazzarri must learn to be flexible if he wants to avoid the same fate.
The former Napoli boss is rightly regarded as one of the league's top coaches, and given time, he can construct a team perfectly suited to his three-man defence. But right now, Inter need results, and the squad sheet suggests that they might be easier to come by with a traditional back four because it's what the players are used to.
Andrea Ranocchia, in particular, has looked uncomfortable with the new formation. Six yellow cards speak of the player's indiscipline and tendency to get caught on the back foot, but the fact that Inter have conceded more goals than Juventus and Roma combined clearly indicates that the defence isn't working.
Switching formations is something that Antonio Conte has done to good effect at Juventus, as have most of the game's top managers. It's a skill Mazzarri needs to learn quickly.