Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Martino ´the perfect fit´ for Inter Miami, says Messi´s team-mate Gressel

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 27 Jun 2024

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Gerardo Martino is “the perfect fit” for Inter Miami, so says Julian Gressel.

Miami are top of MLS ahead of playing Nashville SC this weekend, having taken 41 points from 20 matches.

It has been an epic turnaround in fortunes for the Herons, who have been MLS’ form team since the arrivals of Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba last year.

This season, that trio have been formed by their former Barcelona team-mate Luis Suarez, who like Messi, has netted 12 goals in the league so far in 2024.

Yet with both Messi and Suarez absent due to the ongoing Copa America, Miami’s form has not dropped off.

And Gressel, who supplied an assist in Miami’s 2-1 win over the Columbus Crew last time out, says Martino deserves all the credit.

“Tata is the perfect fit for this team,” he told the Miami Herald. “He has the intensity to push younger guys but also the experience and knowledge of how to manage a really successful team with stars.

“He knows MLS. He knows Leo Messi and Busquets and Jordi and Suarez. He can combine all that knowledge he gained over those years and really bring out the best in us.

“When Miami made that hire, I wasn’t with the club yet, but I remember thinking: ‘This is absolutely a no-brainer.’

“You don’t really coach Leo Messi anymore, or Luis Suarez; Those guys are so beyond that, so it’s about managing them and managing the team around them.

“He has a really good feel for that.”

Former Barca boss Martino credited his work in charge of national teams as the ideal preparation for this job.

“Of course, it is rare for four stars to show up together, especially in MLS, but dealing with young players and stars is not new to me,” Martino said.

“As a national team coach, you often have world-class players with a lot of experience, and you collaborate with the young players who are developing.

“As a coach, your job is not restricted to training during the week and playing games on weekends. You are also expected to develop and integrate young players while coexisting with the big-name players.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Nashville SC – Sam Surridge

Hany Mukhtar has not quite scaled the same heights as in seasons gone by in 2024, but striker Surridge has provided the goals. He leads the way for Nashville, with seven strikes in MLS.

Inter Miami – Julian Gressel

Gressel’s assist for Ian Fray to score Miami’s opening goal against Columbus was his 61st MLS assist.

Since he joined MLS in 2017, only Luciano Acosta (65) has recorded more assists than Gressel.

MATCH PREDICTION: DRAW

Nashville limited New York City FC to no shots on target in their 1-0 win on Saturday. It marked the sixth time since the start of the 2021 season that Nashville have not allowed a shot on target in a match, the most such games in the league in that time.

Miami are now on 41 points. Of the 11 previous teams that averaged more than 2.0 points per match through 20 games of the season, 10 went on to win the Supporters’ Shield, with the exception being Toronto FC in the shortened 2020 season.

The Herons are unbeaten in six straight meetings with Nashville SC in all competitions (W3 D3) including winning the last two.

Prior to the last two games, Miami had won only two of their first 11 matches against Nashville in all competitions (D5 L4).

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Nashville SC – 37.8%

Inter Miami – 35.7%

Draw – 26.4%

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

SoccerNews

Soccernews.com is news blog for soccer with comprehensive coverage of all the major leagues in Europe, as well as MLS in the United States. In addition we offer breaking news for transfers and transfer rumors, ticket sales, betting tips and offers, match previews, and in-depth editorials.

You can follow us on Facebook: Facebook.com/soccernews.com or Twitter: @soccernewsfeed.

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