Thursday, February 19 th, 2015
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Why is Nemanja Vidić struggling to adapt to Serie A?
The former Manchester United pillar has largely disappointing the Nerazzurri fans so far, but Mancini's 4-man backline could make easier his settling-in process
by Samuel Still
A struggling, leaky defense has been Inter’s achilles heel in past seasons. Thus, when Erick Thohir announced the first signing of his presidency to be ex-Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidić, many Nerazzurri fans were pleased to say the least. However, dips in form and frequent mistakes in his first few months in Serie A have left Inter with more trouble at the back than expected. After arriving in July on a free agent, Vidić was tasked with a tricky adaptation. Not only was he moving to a new country and facing another language barrier, but he was also being required to shift his play style to suit Mazzarri’s 3-man back line.

His debut for Inter in the league serves as a good summation of his brief spell in Italy. In a 0-0 draw against Torino, Vidić was responsible for both a clumsy challenge on Quagliarella (resulting in a penalty) and a straight red card in the dying moments of the match for sarcastically applauding the referee. Certainly not the behavior you would expect from a two-time Premier League Player of the Season. In just his second match for the club, Vidić was directly responsible for a 3’ goal which lead to another draw, this time a 1-1 match against Palermo.

While many Nerazzurri fans have quickly become disappointed with Vidić’s performances, it is important to note that he was set up for failure from the very beginning. As I already mentioned, the Serb faced typical problems of a transfer such as shifts in language and culture. However, there are many other factors which have contributed to his lackluster displays.

Nemanja Vidić arrives to Serie A after spending nine consecutive season in the Premier League. Unfortunately for him, the two leagues differ greatly in play styles. Serie A is traditionally a more tactical game, while the Premier League involves the aggressive, physical style more inclined to Vidić’s own play. The Serb footballer has only been in Milan for six short months, it’s unrealistic to imagine at the age of 33 that he would be able to completely adapt his game in such a manner.

Equally important is recognizing the season Vidić is currently coming off of. A bleak seventh placed finish by his Manchester United has undoubtably hurt his confidence, mostly due to the fact that errors in the defense were a large contributing factor to their final resting place on the league table. Expecting the leader of an (often) faulty defensive line to immediately improve the (often) faulty Inter defense is, once again, unrealistic.

Along with struggling for form and struggling to adapt to a change in league play style, Vidić has also struggled for fitness so far. A drop in fitness should be expected for a 33 year old veteran who has struggled with injuries during his lengthy career. As fellow ex-Manchester United player and current Juventus striker Carlos Tevez remarked, the pre-conceptions regarding Serie A being a “slow” league with less physical fitness demands have been vastly misleading. I fear that Vidić is just now realizing the physical demands of Serie A in a time where Inter expected him to play a large part in the season.

With all of these major factors playing a part in the struggle Nemanja has faced since moving to Inter, it remains to be seen whether he can cement the back line as he was expected to do. With Mancini now at the helm, Inter have resorted back to a 4-man line which Vidić will find himself much more comfortable in. Given an appropriate amount of time to adjust to the mental and physical demands of Serie A, there is hope that Vidić will eventually be able to make the difference.

Monday, December 8 th, 2014
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