Wednesday night saw Inter finally get the victory that they needed in the Champions League. Winning away in Kiev is not an easy task for any team, and it went right to the wire for the Nerazzurri.
Overall, Inter were clearly the better side on the field at the Lobanovsky Dynamo Stadium last night. They had twice as many shots as the Ukrainian side and 60% of possession over the course of the game. It was a case of just not being able to find the back of the net when they had to – which could well be put down to the pressure that the players were feeling.
Jose Mourinho opted to start Samuel Eto’o and Diego Milito up front, with a diamond midfield consisting of Dejan Stankovic, Wesley Sneijder, Javier Zanetti and Esteban Cambiasso. This was a similar system that served them so well against Milan in the derby earlier this season, with Sneijder positioned in the advanced midfield role, allowing him freedom to create. However, it wasn’t until Mourinho brought off Cambiasso and Cristian Chivu for Mario Balotelli and Thiago Motta at halftime that Inter really began to force the issue.
The formation shifted to have only one centre-back in Lucio, which was a daring gamble by the Coach, knowing that a loss would be fatal for his side. Mourinho has since been praised by former Milan manager, Arrigo Sacchi, for making all the difference with his tactical changes: “I must ask – is Mourinho a phenomenon or can he do whatever he wants with the team he has at his disposal? I reckon he is a phenomenon.”
The relief this morning in the Nerazzurro half of Milan has been obvious, but there has also been a great sense of pride in a very determined performance from the team. Mourinho himself described it best, saying: “The team achieved this result by fighting tooth and nail for it, and they all played with their hearts on their sleeves as well. We deserved to win.” Diego Milito, somewhat strangely, took the opportunity to suggest that his side will be capable of winning the whole competition: “We are working hard to get to the final as Inter have not won it for a long time. It’s not easy, but we want the final.”
Elsewhere this week, the Nerazzurri have been angered by claims from Michel Platini that the club is in a lot of debt. In an interview the former Juventus player and current UEFA president asked who would be stupid enough to buy clubs such as Inter, Chelsea and Manchester United that have such large debts. Chief executive Ernesto Paolillo hit back, saying: “Inter are not in debt with the banks. Inter, like many Italian teams have had a negative balance, but has always covered itself with capital made available by the club’s owners.” These comments are likely to spark a war of words between la Beneamata and UEFA, and it is likely that the other clubs of which Platini spoke will also have a retort to make.
Transfer news this week concerns Ajax’s Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez. Reports suggest that the Dutch club may need to sell their star player in January to alleviate debts that the club has accumulated. Inter, along with most of Europe’s top clubs, would certainly be interested if Suarez, who has scored an amazing 16 goals in 12 games this season, were to become available. Douglas Maicon has also been in the news this week, linked yet again with a move to Manchester City. His agent has dismissed the rumours with a shot at the English side, saying: ‘The player has already said he wants to stay at Inter. If Real or United knock at the door then that’s one thing, but City? What would Maicon do at City? Let’s not joke around…”
This Sunday night Inter host Roma at the Giuseppe Meazza. Even though the Giallorossi are going through a bad period at the moment, they are not a side to be taken lightly. With the quality they have in their squad they could cause the Nerazzurri problems and if they win against Fulham this week the confidence will be high. It should be a very entertaining match, and one that Inter will expect to win.
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