The biggest game in Italy this weekend – with all due respect to Milan and Lazio fans – was undoubtedly the Sunday night clash between Inter and Roma at the Giuseppe Meazza stadium. The game was not a classic, but despite Jose Mourinho’s opinions, it was a generally entertaining game that finished 1-1. With Juventus winning on Saturday it has cut Inter’s lead to five points and leaves the neutrals hoping that there may actually be a title race this season.
Inter were frustrated by a Roma side that defended very well and counter attacked with pace and precision. It was a reminder for the Nerazzurri that home games are not a guaranteed three points and that they need to be at their best against every team in the division. Mourinho was not at all happy with the performance his side gave, or the tactics employed by the Giallorossi, who he accused of not wanting to win. One player to feel the full wrath of the Coach was Mario Balotelli, whose performance was criticised for a lack of work and rated as “close to a zero.” Remarkably, Mourinho seemed quite happy with the result, saying: “They [Roma] are a quality opponent, and they needed to win, so I knew it would be difficult for us. In the second half, I feel we did enough to win, but in a bad game like this, no one deserves to win.”
Javier Zanetti was not as satisfied with the result, feeling that the side had done enough to justify a victory: “I do not think that this is a fair result for us tonight” he said, “The important thing is that our intention was always to try and win the match, and I feel that we could have easily done so.” La Beneamata’s failure to win the game does continue the theme seen in the Champions League of failing to break down determined opponents. Despite Mourinho’s gripes, every team will play in a manner that they believe gives them the best chance of victory – and when the game is away against Inter they will almost all play on the counter attack. It is only the Roman club’s form this season that makes this a missed opportunity for Inter, usually a draw against il Lupi would be seen as a good result.
The man who seemed least content after the game was Roma coach Claudio Ranieri, not with his side’s performance, but with Jose Mourinho’s comments: “Mourinho? He’s always complaining. Does he know that his side were awarded double the amount of fouls than us?” These comments could well revive the rivalry between the two, and give Serie A fans another Mourinho battle to watch.
One worry for Nerazzurri fans this week, with regards to the future of the team, is the news that Davide Santon reportedly left the club’s Pinetina training ground this week angry that he had been omitted from the squad to face Roma. Santon has been struggling to get first-team action so far this season and, after the success he had last term, is understandably unhappy. It has been suggested that he may be allowed to leave on-loan in January, and it is very important for la Beneamata that they find a solution to the problem, so that their young star does not start to consider leaving the club. In related news, Inter have signed starlets Rene Krhin and Vid Belec to new long-term contracts. The two youngsters have been attracting interest from other European clubs and the Nerazzurri were anxious to make sure that they cannot leave.
Going into yet another international break, things are still looking good for la Beneamata. A five-point lead over Juventus and Champions League hopes still alive mean that Jose Mourinho can be reasonably happy with how things are going. There is also a healthy lack of injuries at the moment, and provided the squad can make it through the internationals unscathed, Inter will be looking to field a full strength team against Bacelona in two weeks time.
Inter Club Focus 2009/10
Another Scudetto for the Nerazzurri? – August 18, 2009
A stuttering start, and a Portuguese explosion – August 25, 2009
It’s derby time – August 28, 2009
A wonderful derby but the champions of Europe are waiting – September 1, 2009
All is well for la Beneamata – September 4, 2009
International week (Georgia-Italy, Italy-Bulgaria)
Friendlies, injuries and stolen boots… – September 7, 2009
Nerazzurri look to the future as Ibra looks back – September 11, 2009
Inter get a point, but that’s not the point – September 18, 2009
They never had a problem with ugly wins – September 22, 2009
Partenopei are beaten Black and Blue – September 25, 2009
Blucerchiati run rings round Inter – September 29, 2009
Champions League? You’re having a laugh – October 2, 2009
I’d rather be lucky than good – October 6, 2009
The international break – October 6, 2009
International Week (Republic of Ireland-Italy, Italy-Cyprus)
Transfer Talk – October 13, 2009
Back to Genova – October 16, 2009
The Puzzle continues – October 20, 2009
What next? – October 23, 2009
Papering over the cracks – October 27, 2009
The pressure is on as Inter almost throw it away against Palermo – October 30, 2009
Judgement day awaits – November 3, 2009
Just in time – November 6, 2009
A draw with Roma, but things look good – November 10, 2009