It has been a good weekend for Inter with regards to Serie A. Not only did they pick up another three points, away to Livorno, but Juventus managed to throw away a two goal lead against Napoli, extending the Nerazzurri’s lead over la Vecchia Signora. Sampdoria also drew, so now Jose Mourinho’s side have a seven point lead in the Championship after only 11 games.
“Despite Livorno’s aggressive opening, I was happy with how we controlled the game in the second period,” Mourinho said, content with how his team played, but the former Chelsea manager admitted he is worried about injuries: “I wanted to give some rest and more playing time to several players, but we still have a problem with injuries.” It was another solid win for la Beneamata, and one of Footbal Italiano’s favourite characters, the effervescent Livorno Coach Serse Cosmi, admitted that he had no regrets with how his team played, despite the loss.
Now the spotlight turns to what is unquestionably the most important match of Inter’s season so far, the away fixture against Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League. With the group so tight, anything but a win for the Nerazzurri will see them in real trouble and requiring a miracle to qualify – an unacceptable situation for such a talented side. The mood in Milan is determined, with the players realising the magnitude of the task ahead of them. Captain Javier Zanetti gave a characteristically candid opinion on the game, saying: “It will be a vital match, delicate and difficult, but we will confront it with personality.” With this statement Zanetti pinpointed what Inter have been lacking – the drive and personality to succeed in Europe. They have the talent, but now need to show the will and desire to win the difficult games – they need to be as committed as they were against Barcelona in the next two games against Dynamo and Rubin Kazan.
In order to help Inter on their way, former allenatore Roberto Mancini has been giving his opinion that the physicality of European competition is causing Inter problems. He gave these pearls of wisdom: “There are many physically strong teams in the Champions League from a technical point of view, and others who are inferior.” After tactical insights like that, there is no way that the Nerazzurri can fail to win on Wednesday!
In order to beat Dynamo Kiev, Jose Mourinho needs to field an attacking line-up. In the previous game he went with Samul Eto’o up-front on his own, supported by Wesley Sneijder and Dejan Stankovic, which proved relatively easy for the Ukrainian side’s defence to handle. This time, an attacking trio of Eto’o, Diego Milito and the in-form Mario Balotelli could be deployed in order to overrun a solid, but not impenetrable, Kiev back line. With Sneijder not fit, the midfield could be adapted into a more hard working unit, whose job is to get the ball to the men up-front who can make things happen. At the back, Andriy Shevchenko and the dangerous Artem Milevskiy are a good partnership, but no better than the strikers that Inter have to often face domestically. The important element of the game is that whoever Mourinho picks at centre-back must keep their concentration for the whole 90 minutes – it is stupid mistakes that have cost la Beneamata more than once this season.
Realistically, Inter should be beating sides like Dynamo with relative ease. This is not a slight on the Ukrainians, but a realistic assessment of the talent that the Milanese side has at its disposal. Failure to qualify from the group stage would raise legitimate questions about whether Mourinho is the man to lead the team to Champions League glory. Of course he won’t get sacked, because his contract is far too expensive to make that an option, but if another club were to approach him at the end of the season, President Massimo Moratti may well be tempted to let the Coach leave. It is time that F.C. Internazionale started to perform in the Champions League like the highly talented side we see in Serie A, and regain some pride for a club with a great tradition of success in everything they do.
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