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Adam DigbyFeatured ColumnistJanuary 24, 2017

Eight wins in a row; it might not sound like much, but after spending so long struggling in the years since Jose Mourinho left Inter Milan, it is unquestionably a major milestone for the Serie A giants.

Indeed, the Nerazzurri have undergone arguably the most tumultuous spell in the club’s history following the Portuguese coach’s move to Real Madrid shortly after securing a historic treble in May 2010.

A quick recap of events over that intervening six-and-a-half years: Inter have been sold not once but twice, the Suning Holdings Group purchasing the club last June from the Erick Thohir-led consortium that bought out long-term owner Massimo Moratti three years earlier.

They have had a staggering nine different coaches since then, with Rafael Benitez, Leonardo, Gian Piero Gasperini, Claudio Ranieri, Andrea Stramaccioni, Walter Mazzarri, Roberto Mancini, Frank de Boer and Stefano Pioli all taking a turn on the bench.

The 2010 FIFA Club World Cup and the Coppa Italia 12 months later mark their only major trophies since Mourinho departed, while the last five seasons have seen them finish sixth, ninth, fifth, eighth and fourth in Serie A.

A genuine title challengeor even a Champions League berthhave never looked like realistic ambitions for a club that has lurched from one crisis to another, a situation perhaps typified by events last summer.

Mancini left Inter just two weeks before the Italian season began, only for the club to sack his replacement after a mere 84 days in charge. “This project needed more time to be carried out,” De Boer wrote on Twitter (h/t Football Italia). “I want to thank all the fans for all the support you’ve given me over these months.”

The team had lost seven of his 14 games in charge, yet incredibly that was not the only issue. Blighted by years of mismanagement, Inter were forced to leave new signings Gabriel Barbosa, Joao Mario, Geoffrey Kondogbia and Stevan Jovetic out of their squad for the Europa League due to Financial Fair Play regulations, per Ben Gladwell of ESPN FC.

Unsurprisingly that meant they failed to get beyond the group stage, taking just six points from the same number of matches and finishing bottom of their four-team pool. However, that meant after Pioli was appointed on November 8, he was able to focus solely on domestic matters and always had a full squad to work with.

Some performances have been far from perfect, with Sunday’s narrow 1-0 win at Palermo being a perfect example. Yet, the Nerazzurri have reeled off a superb run of results, winning eight consecutive matches in all competitions to power their way to fifth place in Serie A and into the quarter-finals of the Coppa Italia.

Mauro Icardi was perhaps the one player unaffected by De Boer’s tenure, currently leading all scorers in Serie A with 15 goals while also weighing in with a career-high seven assists. He has been irrepressible and irreplaceable all season, leading the line and punishing any mistakes by the opposition defence but adding some much-needed creativity to his play.

The rest of the side is almost unrecognisable to the disastrous unit they resembled earlier in the campaign, with Joao Mario—who scored the only goal in the win over relegation-threatened Palermo—happy to credit new boss Pioli for transforming their fortunes.

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