Inter Milan vs. Manchester United: What Walter Mazzarri Learned
Manchester United defeated Internazionale 5-3 on penalty kicks in their International Champions Cup clash at FedEx Field in Maryland on Tuesday night after the match had finished 0-0.
Inter coach Walter Mazzarri will have taken a great deal from the game as he attempts to assemble his preferred formation and line-up ahead of the start of the Serie A season.
He elected to start this game with a 3-5-2 formation, featuring young Argentines Mauro Icardi and Ruben Botta up front and a midfield that has been drastically overhauled since last season.
Here are four things Mazzarri will have learned from the match.
Vidic Can Be a Leader from the Back
Serbian hard man Nemanja Vidic did not have his finest season for Manchester United in 2013-14, but early signs are he could become a truly valuable member of this Inter side.
Ageing centre-backs tend to have a long shelf life in Italy, where experience and guile count for more than speed and physicality.
Against Real Madrid in Inter's first ICC match, Vidic looked a little rusty, but in this game he was much more composed at the back.
He was firm in defence, and it was also notable how crucial he was to initiating the Italian side's attacks from deep. He was something of a hub, distributing the ball with short passes to his midfielders or spraying longer passes to advancing attacking players.
The manager should be happy with the way Vidic has settled into the team.
A 3-5-2 Formation Can Be Effective
The 3-5-2 formation used against United looked as though it could become a suitable setup for Inter in the coming season, particularly with a few tweaks in personnel.
Neither side was particularly slick in this pre-season fixture, but Mazzarri's men at least looked solid defensively, granting few clear-cut chances to the English team.
There were a few occasions when Juan Mata, Tom Cleverley or Wayne Rooney were given a fraction too much space, but that is an aspect that Inter should get better at as fitness improves and more time is spent on the training paddock.
Playing confidently without the ball is an important step to master when building a successful team, and Inter appear to be heading in the right direction in that regard.
Without Some of the World Cup Stars, the Side Lacks Creativity
While Inter were solid, they also lacked a creative spark in the attacking third.
Icardi, so dangerous when he gets involved, barely got a touch of the ball due to a lack of service.
Botta was ineffective in his role of support striker, while those tasked with making chances from midfield were not doing enough to feed the forwards, either.
By the time the Serie A season rolls around, expect to see returning World Cup players such as Ricky Alvarez, Rodrigo Palacio, Fredy Guarin (who came on late against United) and Mateo Kovacic featuring in the starting side and, Mazzarri will be hoping, offering more of an attacking threat.
Juan Pablo Carrizo Is a Much Improved Goalkeeper
When he first appeared in Serie A back in 2008 as an exciting goalkeeping prospect from Argentina, Juan Pablo Carrizo failed to live up to the high expectations surrounding him.
After starring for River Plate in his homeland, he perhaps expected to continue his success in Italy; however, he soon found himself dropped from the starting side for being too error-prone, with management unhappy with his lack of work ethic.
He was subsequently loaned out to Zaragoza, River and Catania, before eventually moving to Inter in 2013.
Though he barely featured last season, his two second-half appearances in the ICC, both of which have been impressive, could indicate that Mazzarri is considering him as a starting option.
At 30, Carrizo may finally have reached the maturity level he needs to fulfil his potential.