x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Jose's tactics under scrutiny

The Inter Milan coach's fixation with playing three up front will come under further scrutiny at home to Werder Bremen following Sunday's 1-0 defeat by AC Milan.

Inter's Zlatan Ibrahimovic, left, struggled in the Milan derby to link up with the wide players coach Jose Mourinho likes to play off of him.
Inter's Zlatan Ibrahimovic, left, struggled in the Milan derby to link up with the wide players coach Jose Mourinho likes to play off of him.

MILAN // Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho's fixation with playing three up front will come under further scrutiny at home to Werder Bremen on Wednesday following Sunday's 1-0 defeat by AC Milan. The Champions League Group B clash gives the Italian champions an immediate opportunity to forget the derby loss, their first defeat under Mourinho, and to work on their forward line. Mourinho, whose side won 2-0 at Panathinaikos in their opening group game, won two Premier League titles at Chelsea playing with two wide players supporting a forward and hoped he could replicate the formation at Inter.

He bought wingers Mancini and Ricardo Quaresma to complement striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic but so far the scheme has worked sparingly and failed miserably against Milan. They were isolated from the midfield and barely threatened in the first half, while the introduction of strikers Adriano and Julio Cruz meant Inter lost any real shape. Inter prospered playing 4-4-2 under the previous coach Roberto Mancini, winning two scudettos and Italian newspapers have made their first daring attempts at criticising Mourinho, but their comments have been given short change by the former FC Porto coach.

"When we win it's thanks to the players, but if we lose it's my fault. We have lost a match but for me there's nothing to worry about," the confident Portuguese told reporters. "NOT NAIVE" A dreadful display of finishing meant Werder could manage no better than a goalless draw at home to Anorthosis Famagusta first up but their forwards have certainly improved since. The last two Bundesliga games have brought 10 goals for Thomas Schaaf's side, who followed up an incredible 5-2 win at Bayern Munich with a 5-4 thriller at home to Hoffenheim on Saturday.

"The goals will give us self-confidence but we're not naive," Schaaf said after Saturday's victory at the Weserstadion. "We know we'll have to improve a great deal defensively when we play Inter." Werder have no significant injury problems, with the in-form midfielder Mesut Ozil likely to shrug off a slight knee problem in time to play. Probable teams: Inter Milan: 12-Julio Cesar; 13-Maicon, 2-Ivan Cordoba, 23-Marco Materazzi, 26-Cristian Chivu; 4-Javier Zanetti, 14-Patrick Vieira, 19-Esteban Cambiasso; 77-Ricardo Quaresma, 8-Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 33-Mancini. Werder Bremen: 1-Tim Wiese; 8-Clemens Fritz, 29-Per Mertesacker, 4-Naldo, 3-Petri Pasanen; 11-Mesut Ozil, 6-Frank Baumann, 22-Torsten Frings, 10-Diego; 9-Markus Rosenberg, 24-Claudio Pizarro. Referee: Lubos Michel (Slovakia)

*Reuters