Who would have thought that a draw away to Atalanta could have brought such rewards for the Nerazzurri?
As Wesley Sneijder was getting sent off, both Milan and Juventus were contriving to lose to opposition that they really should have been beaten without too much trouble (although Milan were undone by the amazing performance of Fabrizio Miccoli). The best news for Inter is that the Old Lady appears to be flat-lining. Juventus have gone from the reasonably good to the ridiculous in the last few weeks, and until something happens to change the situation at the club it is likely that they will continue to struggle. Couple this with the very patchy form that Milan are showing – even though they are much improved of late – and at the moment Inter really only have their own form to worry about.
Much more shocking than events on the pitch in Bergamo were reports that Inter Coach Jose Mourinho was involved in a fight with Italian journalist Andrea Ramazzotti. Mourinho allegedly shoved Ramazzotti after refusing to give an interview outside the team bus. This has done nothing to calm the already tense relationship between the Portuguese Coach and the Press, and with the Italian Union of Journalists calling for action to be taken against Mourinho, it remains to be seen whether this is a rift that can be healed.
In the wake of this, assistant Coach Giuseppe Baresi took charge of the post-match Press conference and said that he felt the dismissal of Wesley Sneijder was the moment that changed the game: “Was the sending off correct? I don’t know. Maybe the referee could have let it go on the second foul. They were the only fouls committed by Sneijder in the match.” But Baresi also realised that the draw was not a disaster: “We have five more points that Milan and six more than Juventus. Is the draw a missed opportunity? Yes, but more for them than for us.” Baresi not only has a keen sense when it comes to football, but also a very good command of the rhetoric.
As a result of on-pitch incidents over the last few weeks, the Italian Players Association has called for Serie A teams to calm down. The Association President Sergio Campana said: “There were players last week who behaved badly and they did not live up to their professional image.” He was referring, of course, to the antics in the Derby d’Italia between Juventus and Inter and the clash between Gianluigi Buffon and Thiago Motta as well as Mourinho’s red card. He continued: “too many protests, fouls and argument negatively characterised what should have been a sporting spectacular.” Whilst Campagna has a responsibility to encourage players to behave themselves, a fine line must be kept between good behaviour and getting rid of the passion that fuels the derby games.
One slightly puzzling rumour to emerge is the stories about la Beneamata’s possible swoop for Luca Toni in January. Whilst Inter will need cover when Samuel Eto’o goes to the African Cup of Nations, it is not clear quite why Toni has been identified as the man to take his place. His age and lack of match practice will limit his impact on a demanding, title-chasing side such as Inter. He would, however, add something new to the Nerazzurri line-up as they don’t have striker who could play as a target man and Eto’o and Diego Milito don’t provide a great threat in the air.
The last round of matches before the winter break sees Inter host Lazio at the Giuseppe Meazza in a clash that will see the Biancocelesti arrive in Milan in determined mood after their victory over Genoa on Sunday. But with Milan away to Fiorentina and a Juventus side in turmoil at home to Catania, it could well be a good chance for la Beneamata to increase their lead in Serie A and turn the second half of the season into an almost impossible task for their rivals.
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
Back to the day job – November 20, 2009
A Messi situation – November 24, 2009
It was embarrassing – November 27, 2009
José gets ruffled – December 1, 2009
Derby d’Italia – December 4, 2009
It could be worse – December 8, 2009
Disaster averted – December 11, 2009
A missed opportunity? More for them than us – December 11, 2009