As a tumultuous Season 16 for the humble citizens of Porto Alegre is drawing to an end, with the club still in the hunt for automatic promotion to Division 1, the unpredictable and unbalanced behavior from the former manager has been replaced with a more direct, simple and clean approach to decision making …
Um Clube Em Chamas
There has been a lot of speculation regarding what happened to Nuno Marques during his time at SC Internacional. Whilst speculation is never likely to lead to the real truth, we are but left to judge his actions, and by what he left behind … a club on fire.
The fans of Inter deserved so much more. A beautiful city, the capital of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, in southern Brazil, hosts approximately 4.4 MM people. A wealthy city that boasts a rich history of Spanish, Brazilian and Portuguese culture, known for many episodes that mark the history of the great country of Brazil.
Under the reign of Nuno, many quality players were sold, and whilst some quality was sent back in return, the net net was that the squad was weakened. After repeated appeals to the S(FIFA)M, with documented and undeniable evidence of irrational and at times arrogant behavior, finally, on December 4th he was removed as manager. Some said he was dragged from his office kicking and screaming. Other say that there was a stand-off at the clubs offices as Nuno had employed two ex-GRUMEC operators as bodyguards, who were blocking the access to the building of the S(FIFA)M administrators brought in to dispense S(FIFA)M justice. Local sources say that the bodyguards were in response to threats he was receiving from the fans about his appalling dealings in the transfer market, and flippant attitude towards discussions with the Top100 Politburo.
Whatever was said, after Nuno left, the ashes were still warm days later …..
Clube em crise
Within a week of the previous manager being relieved of his position and banished to the Gold leagues, Mike T was appointed, taking charge of a club in crisis. A veteran of 478 league fixtures, with stints spent (recently at) AS Monaco, FC Schalke 04, Olympique Marseille and Athletic Club, the job came not only with the pressure to defuse the tensions at the club and with the fans, but with stipulations from the Top100 Politburo.
In the last week of the Nuno death spiral, nearly 20 players were traded to external clubs for, in most cases, questionable value in return. Being able to review these transfers and to access and return these players to Rolo Compressor squad was the first order of business. Following that review, approximately ten of the eighteen players returned to their club, with eight (8) free to find a new home in the Top100.
The next, and at times, most contentious order of business were four Top100 internal transfers, where the club receiving the Colorado players got a slightly better deal than what was returning to the Beira-Rio. Upon taking the role, the stipulation was that the new manager of Inter had the discretion to reverse the transfers. All four clubs had agreed to this stipulation, and the decision fell to the new manager.
Dois passos para frente, tres passos para tras
A careful review was undertaken of the four (4) transfers. Many factors were taken into consideration. Opinions were sought from the key leaders within the current squad, many of who played (and suffered) during Nuno’s time. After consideration of the talent received, the clubs who received the talent leaving, the dysfunction, the current squad, a decision was made to let the four (4) transfers stand, and a statement issued:
Of course we know more value went out the door than came in … the mere fact that the Top100 Politburo had the power to negotiate (with an iron fist) with managers to agree to reverse these deals is why we all love this league.
What was the result of letting the transfers stand? Two clubs at the foot of Division 5 get a starter, what could be considered as their best player, a Division 4 and a Division 3 club receive some young talent.
Personally, as the new manager, whilst distasteful and very disappointing for all of us that Nuno would behave like a petulant child, the biggest loser in these deals is SC Internacional. And we made the decision.
The result of this decision could be viewed as ‘two steps forward, three steps back’, but we believe in our ability to rebuild the squad, we have some fantastic young talent, and a squad that is not too old (if you ignore the 60 players, and 27 goalkeepers that were just as confused as the Top100 league to be arriving at the Beira-Rio in an Uber over the last month).
We are still fighting for promotion to Division 1, and have a real chance to get back to the top of the league where we know we can compete.
Following the issuance of the statement, two (2) of the four (4) clubs have reached out to Inter unsolicited, one who has decided to send the player back to the Colorado after the transfer ban has expired, the other who offered up to four (4) young potentially talented players, which the manager decided on taking one (1) on offer, being a fair expression and representation of goodwill. This was not expected, and certainly not requested, and SC Inter thank you.
Avaliando o time
A full review of the entire squad was performed in a relatively short period of time. There will be a total of fifty four (54) players departing the club in mid-February 2022. Of those, there could be some of interest to other Top100 clubs, with twelve (12) players being 86’s and 87’s, and these will be advertised closer to the end of their respective transfer bans.
The remaining players (approx. 40) will form the nucleus of the squad going forward, to be shaped with results and some transfer deals. Some players are being looked as to whether they fit within the new structure, tactics and game plan, and some will likely be tagged as ‘available for transfer. Identified area’s of squad depth that will need addressing are in defensive cover, defensive midfield and another quality striker/attacking option. Potential targets are being currently being assessed, and there is a potential for some movement before the end of the season, but manager Mike T has stated they are focused on the remaining 18 points available in the season.
Onde estas Bruno Fernandes?
Installed as club captain upon his arrival (but with Rui Patricio starring after taking the armband after a rash knee high challenge on Schalke’s Januzaj a couple of weeks ago resulted in a three week suspension) Bruno has made it known that if SC Internacional do not achieve promotion to Division 1 he would be seeking a transfer. Manager Mike T would not be drawn on speculation that Bruno could be on his way out of the Beira-Rio at the end of the season, but stated ‘our focus is on promotion to Division 1 in our remaining fixtures, however all options remain on the table at this stage with Bruno‘.
Bruno has performed at a high level since arriving from Chelsea in a deal that saw Frello Jorginho and Christopher Nkunku head to Stamford Bridge. His eleven league starts have yielded 4 goals, 1 assist and 3 MoM, however the last four matches Inter only took 1 point out of 12, that point being the Schalke match (a 2-2 draw), and Bruno red card. Losing your talisman at such a critical juncture of the season to a rush of blood to the head could be put at the feet of the player, however new manager Mike T reminded us that working under Nuno as captain was likely pressure that not many players could handle.
There has been some reasonably well placed that speculation the sharks are circling Bruno, with potential offers of 2 for and 3 for Bruno likely to be tabled in the event he will be available. The question has to be asked … is a 94 rated Bruno a luxury in the Clube de Provo squad after such a dysfunctional Season 16, and could a deal for 2/3 talented players provide the springboard for future success?
Vazamento de dados de formacao tatica
A not unsurprising leak took place as the last of the Marques staff were being escorted from the building. Some tactical formations were stolen and published in a blog under the heading of ‘Mike T is no Nuno Marques!‘. Whilst it is not entirely certain who took these sheets in their final few days at the club, the Celeiro de Ases manager Mike T was asked about these events and offered ‘everyone in the Top100 is a quality manager, some more experienced than others. It isn’t difficult to research your opponents and this doesn’t really harm us in matches because there is no context included in these charts, and you would be a fool to think these are the only formations we will use!‘. He added ‘I like the first 13 or 14 players in our squad, some names not listed are interchangeable with the first eleven. We have some quality younger players that are either a rise or a move to a bigger club from reaching some higher potential as well, this is an exciting role and an exciting time‘.
For clarity, we politely asked Mike T if we could publish these and he agreed.
E agora … o futuro
An improbable 1-0 victory away to Villa at Villa Park with a second string team (enforced due to fitness concerns, plus the upcoming shield final), a pretty close League Shield loss 2-1 to an imperious Arsenal, and a 0-0 home draw against automatic promotion chasing AC Milan with a majority second string side again has replaced the despair some fans were feeling given player exits and squad fitness concerns with the hope for automatic promotion. With Rui Patricio taking the captain’s armband, his experience and calming influence on the playing group has proved a welcome distraction from all of the other events. A tough away fixture at St James Park (the last of the Sports Direct banners have been torn down) against playoff hopeful Newcastle United awaits Sunday, who are no easy side to play against at their own cathedral.
Whilst automatic promotion could happen, with everyone pushing for a top 3 finish (at the time of print, the Colorado held a one point lead over Levante UD in 4th, and two point leads over Ajax and Everton in 5th and 6th place), new manager Mike T was quoted that he would not consider the season a failure if they do not gain promotion to Division 1, given the events of the season and chaos wrought upon the squad by Marques.
No, not a failure. The mere fact that we are still in with a good shot given the events of this season proves the players here want to succeed.
Un comentario final
Minimizing mistakes, keeping it simple and being predictable in business dealings, looking forward, that is what Mike T has been saying since he has arrived at the Beira-Rio … and gaining the trust of the chairman again.
Only time will tell, but a good result away to Newcastle can only add to the stability his appointment has already provided in his first seven days at the club.