After De Boer's disappointing tenure as Inter manager in which he arguably wasn't given enough time to bring his ideas through, the club from Milan turned to Stefano Pioli who has great experience and knowledge of the Italian League. His appointment might not have been the most exciting choice for Inter fans but he is already proving to be a safe pair of hands for Inter. De Boer was sacked with Inter sitting in twelfth place which was a serious underperformance from a team that some expected to challenge for the title. Since Pioli has taken over, Inter are now up to seventh place and only 5 points off the Champions League spots. There are signs that Pioli is beginning to turn things around at the Nerazzurri.
Stefano Pioli began his time as Inter manager with a baptism of fire. Pioli's first match in charge of the Nerazzurri came against a highflying A.C. Milan side in the derby. Inter came out with a positive result with Persisic rescuing a point for Pioli deep into stoppage time. Pioli has been turning the tide at Inter with only one defeat in their six games with the experienced Italian in charge. That one defeat as well was a 3-0 loss away to Napoli, which wasn't a big surprise given that Pioli was still trying to implement his ideas with the Inter squad. However, Pioli has had some very impressive wins with the Nerazzurri beating Fiorentina 4-2 and most recently Lazio 3-0. There are signs that Pioli is beginning to get the best out of an Inter side that on paper looked like that they could have challenged Juventus for the title.
One of the first things that Pioli has improved is Inter's defense and it was quite clear under De Boer that the defense needed urgent attention. Under De Boer the Nerazzurri only kept two clean sheets in 12 games and those two clean sheets came against relegation battlers Empoli and Crotone. Under Pioli, Inter have managed to keep three consecutive clean sheets in their last three games and it looks like Pioli has managed to solve some of the defensive problems. A large part of these problems under De Boer was his style of play. De Boer's style of playing out of the back caused a number of mistakes by Inter's backline. Perhaps if De Boer had not have been so stubborn and changed to a slightly more direct style he would still be in the job. Nonetheless, it is Pioli who has now managed to get rid of these sloppy mistakes in the Inter backline.
Pioli so far in his short time at Inter has managed to get the best out of Antoniio Candreva who he previously worked with at Lazio. Since Pioli has taken over, Candreva has scored 3 goals in 6 matches and looks to be finding the form he had at Lazio. Pioli will need Candreva to be at his best if Inter are to finish top 3 and qualify for the Champions League. At Lazio Pioli certainly demonstrated his qualities as a manager bringing Lazio to a third place finish and qualifying for the Champions League play-off round. He has a very difficult task on his hands to get Inter to finish in the top three as the Nerazzurri are currently 5 points behind Napoli and if Milan win their game in hand they will be 6 points off the top three. However, Pioli has stated that he believes Inter can qualify for the Champions League and there is a long way to go before the end of the season, anything could happen.
Stefano Pioli might not have been the most glamorous choice but it seems that he is slowly beginning to turn things around at Inter. The Nerazzurri fans will be hoping that Inter can continue Pioli's upward trend and hopefully find themselves in the top three at the end of the season....