Club Focus – Inter – Down to the wire

That’s the trouble with Francesco Totti, just when you think he’s done, he comes back and reminds you just why he’s so revered in Rome. Inter were 20 minutes away from clinching lo Scudetto on Sunday afternoon before Totti picked himself up after a terrible week and an even worse miss to score twice and ensure the title race will be decided on the final day of the season.

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Whilst Er Pupone was saving the Giallorossi, Inter were making life difficult for themselves against Chievo. 4-1 up after 52 minutes, la Beneamata then proceeded to concede two goals making for an uncomfortable last period of the match. End of season nerves are only to be expected, especially after how many turns the title races has taken in the last few months. After all, the last time the title race was this close was the 2007-08 season when Inter needed Zlatan Ibrahimovic – who wasn’t fully fit – to score twice against Parma on the final day of the season.

This win leaves Inter with only an away trip to Siena to negotiate next week if they want to become Italian champions yet again. Neutrals, of course, will be hoping that there is still drama to come but it would take memorable performance for the already-relegated Tuscan side to really trouble the in-form Nerazzurri. Not that it will stop them trying, and Siena president Massimo Mezzaroma has already vowed that his side will not ‘do a Lazio’ and roll-over for the champions on Sunday. Mezzaroma has said that he wants Siena to maintain the integrity of the league, but the fact that he is a Roma fan probably also plays a part.

Another story from this week involves, unsurprisingly, Jose Mourinho. The Nerazzurri coach branded compatriot Claudio Ranieri a ‘loser’ and criticised his coaching techniques following the Coppa Italia final last week. Mourinho was unimpressed with the Giallorossi’s tactics in the game and said that they should have only had six men left on the field at the end of the game due to the persistent fouling of certain players. He also laughed at reports saying that Ranieri had made the Roma squad watch a film before the game, “We prefer to work on the pitch and study Roma’s weaknesses in depth. If I made the team watch Gladiator before a game, my players would laugh at me or call a doctor and say I was ill,” he said. “Ranieri has forgotten that his players are champions and not children.” It would appear that the bad feeling between them following Ranieri’s departure and Mourinho’s arrival at Chelsea has not dissipated, and the ‘Special One’ did not miss the opportunity to relive this moment either, saying “I never said I was a phenomenon but it’s certainly not my fault if I arrived at Chelsea in 2004 and asked why they were getting rid of Ranieri if they said they wanted to win and would never have done so with him.” This is the side of Mourinho’s personality that sometimes makes it hard to respect him, he is as unbearable in victory as he is churlish in defeat.

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A final word is reserved for Mario Balotelli. ‘Super Mario’ put in another good performance for Inter this weekend, and scored what proved to be the winning goal, receiving generous praise from the Curva Nord for his efforts. But the furore surrounding the Francesco Totti incident this week has been yet another blot on his record. What other player could have such a horrible foul committed on them and somehow not get much sympathy? Balotelli alleging that Totti had made racist comments towards him may or may not be true, but the fact that people are finding it difficult to believe should tell Mario that nobody trusts him anymore. If you want people to take you seriously, you have to behave like an adult.

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