Inzaghi’s Scudetto Win Furthers Italian Coaching Brilliance

On Monday evening, Simone Inzaghi’s Inter claimed the club’s 20th Serie A title, ensuring the Nerazzurri will have their much-awaited second star on top of their crest. They extended their record as Italy’s second-most successful club, and for Inzaghi, it was the completion of the set as he has now won every domestic trophy on offer. 


There was hardly a team more deserving of the Scudetto than Inter this season. It could even be argued that they were Europe’s most entertaining side, and had it not been for a cruel Champions League last 16 penalty shoot-out defeat, that claim would undoubtedly have been furthered by the media across Europe. Like Napoli last season, the lack of Champions League pedigree this campaign will be a blot on an otherwise sensational season, as Inzaghi reinvented the team after their Champions League Final defeat last campaign, and made sure there were no blips on their way to the title. 



Inter’s goal when Inzaghi was appointed was to ensure that they were in a firm position to win the title every season, and after falling to Stefano Pioli’s Milan and Luciano Spalletti’s wonderful Napoli last season, they finally have their reward.


Whether they can carry it on remains to be seen – Pioli will likely be replaced at Milan this summer, while Napoli are going to get a new coach too, and Juventus will feel confident once Massimiliano Allegri is replaced after three abject seasons. Names like the quickly emerging Thiago Motta and the more experienced Maurizio Sarri are all in the mix, and it’s almost certain that the refreshing of coaching personnel will signal fresh challenges for Inzaghi.


Regardless, the win for Inzaghi added further value to Italy’s coaching set-up, where this variety of excellence has only raised its reputation. In the last six seasons, six different head coaches have won Serie A: Allegri (Juventus, 2019), Sarri (Juventus, 2020), Antonio Conte (Inter, 2021), Pioli (Milan, 2022), Spalletti (Napoli, 2023) and now Inzaghi with Inter.


Four of those (Sarri, Pioli, Spalletti and Inzaghi) won the league for the first time as well. There’s also a great variety in age: Spalletti became the oldest Serie A winner ever at 64 last season in what was his 30th year in management and his 11th different role. He followed Sarri’s success with Juventus, which came when he was 61.



Sarri, of course, had a few more stories along the way. He worked at 19 different clubs over 30 years at both professional and amateur level before winning his first title at the Bianconeri. He only started managing in the top-flight when he was 55, having spurred Empoli to promotion in 2014. 


On the contrary, Inzaghi is only 48, in his eighth year and second club in management and is widely seen as one of the best young managers in Italy. It’s a testament to his work that he was able to take over a winning team from Conte, spur them on to cup success, lead them to a Champions League Final where they were unfancied but still pushed a dominant Manchester City all the way, lose, recover and come back to win a league title. Not too long ago, it seemed as though his long-term future was being questioned, but he has erased any doubts. 


It’s also a testament to Coverciano, the Italian coaching school where every top level coach has to complete their football education. At the end of each student’s (prospective coach) education, they are required to produce a thesis that can touch on any aspect relating to their football studies.


Inzaghi, in his time, produced a thesis on the dynamics of a group (i.e. the dynamics of a team he is coaching), speaking about his experiences as a player and what he learned from being a part of a squad. He highlighted experiences under coaches like Sven-Göran Eriksson.


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One of the most interesting parts of his thesis was how he felt a group would convert into a successful team, and from his research and wisdom, he felt it came in four different stages: formazione (formation), ribellione (rebellion), normalizzazione (normalisation) and performance. 


  • Formazione: Squad members acquaint themselves with each other and define their roles. Coaches help resolve any issues and promote interaction.
  • Ribellione: Conflict arises as members resist authority and disputes occur over roles. Coaches must communicate openly and address individual weaknesses to reduce tension.
  • Normalizzazione: Hostility subsides, and teamwork improves as members focus on shared goals. Roles stabilize, and mutual respect develops, leading to greater satisfaction (and success).
  • Performance: In the last phase, team cohesion strengthens, roles clarify, and the coach ensures every member contributes, fostering effective teamwork and shared goals.


Inzaghi was thrown into the deep end when he was given the top job at Lazio after an agreement was reached and then broken with Marcelo Bielsa in 2016. Despite some challenges, he thrived, establishing himself as a top coach. His work in improving players like Ciro Immobile and Sergej Milinković-Savić was widely admired, and he had a similar repackaging of Hakan Çalhanoğlu at Inter after his arrival, who has become one of the best deep-lying midfielders in Europe, after seemingly heading towards obscurity in his career. 



Indeed, it is this kind of outside-the-box thinking that is required to succeed at Coverciano, and, eventually, succeed in coaching. All of the greats have been through Coverciano and found success in their careers in Italy and abroad. In the 21st century, Eriksson (with Lazio in 2000) and José Mourinho (with Inter in 2009 and 2010) are the only foreign coaches to win Serie A, while there are just four overall in the last 50 years.


Going abroad, clubs have recognised the value of importing Italian coaches and benefited from that talent. Carlo Ancelotti found success in France, Germany, England and massively in Spain with Real Madrid. Roberto Mancini ended Manchester City’s three decade-long trophy drought and four decade-long league title drought.


Claudio Ranieri wrote the Premier League’s greatest story in 2016, while Conte found success with the three-man back-line with Chelsea. Other examples like Fabio Capello (with Real Madrid), Spalletti and Roberto De Zerbi in Russia and Ukraine respectively, Giovanni Trapattoni in Portugal, Germany and Austria all show the adaptability of their work. 


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Inzaghi is deservedly the celebrated Serie A coach of this season but it undoubtedly won’t be long before another comes into the picture and rightly gets their flowers. Perhaps it could be the older Gian Piero Gasperini, who’s work at Atalanta is deserving of a major trophy (and if there’s any justice in football, he might get his first Scudetto at 67), or perhaps an up-and-coming figure, like Motta, who has worked wonders at Bologna.


Perhaps it could be De Zerbi, who has done well with Brighton, or even Francesco Farioli, who at 35, is proving his worth with Nice in Ligue 1. Looking more locally, Raffalle Palladino is being looked at with interest at Monza, and so is Daniele De Rossi, who stepped into a tumultuous situation at Roma and steered the ship. Vincenzo Italiano is also still widely respected for his work at Fiorentina. 


Italy is a hotbed of coaching talent, and six different Scudetto winners in six years only proves that. Inzaghi is the latest in a growing line of champions, and for the good of coaching in Calcio, long may that line grow. 


By: Karan Tejwani / @karan_tejwani26

Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Mattia Ozbot – Inter / FC Internazionale