This Sunday brought another relatively straightforward victory for the Nerazzurri over Catania with a good performance, but not one to erase the Champions League form from the minds of the players and the Coach.
Goals from Sulley Muntari and Wesley Sneijder – despite the fact that Muntari’s goal was somewhat fortunate – sealed the victory for Inter, and even though Giuseppe Mascara scored a late penalty for the visitors, the result was never in doubt. Jose Mourinho was happy with a victory, especially under the circumstances, and paid tribute to his team: “I was satisfied with how we played in the first half, and the way we fought in the second. It’s never easy after a Champions League match.” The players seemed more upbeat about the victory, perhaps glad to get out of the glare that the midweek game had cast upon them. Captain Javier Zanetti described the three points as “important and deserved.” He understands that despite the club’s continued failings on the European front, they cannot let the criticism affect their domestic form if they want to win another Scudetto at the end of the season.
The one person at the club who seems to be in higher spirits than he has been for the last few weeks is Sulley Muntari. The Ghanaian seems to have put his problems behind him and is determined to continue with his career with la Beneamata: “I had been looking for this goal for a long time,” said a pleased Muntari after the final whistle on Sunday. “I have trained as best I could this week, hence I am really happy.” It’s good to see a player – who was getting booed by his own fans less than a month ago – back enjoying his football.
Another player who has been having his problems at Inter is Ricardo Quaresma, and the latest rumour involving the Portuguese international is a proposed transfer to Napoli. The Partenopei are the latest club to be linked with Quaresma, but it seems that as soon as teams are linked with the enigmatic player, they are quick to distance themselves. With a lack of playing time certain to be on the agenda, whether he can convince a team to take a chance on him in January is very much in the balance. A more worrying situation for the Nerazzurri is that Mario Balotelli – who has once again been linked with Arsenal – could be tempted to leave the Giuseppe Meazza. It is no secret that Arsene Wenger is a big fan of Balotelli, and the young Inter player is said to be concerned at the lack of opportunities afforded him by Mourinho. It is, however, vitally important that la Beneamata keep hold of him, as he and Davide Santon (himself linked with a January loan to Genoa) are players upon which the club can build its future.
Despite the best attempts of all involved, the performance in the Champions League has still not been forgotten, and club legend Luis Suarez has had some harsh words to say about the current squad: “The first thing you notice when Inter play in the Champions League is that their opponents are not at all intimidated by playing against them. The new arrivals [at Inter] have not had enough personality to impose themselves in the dressing room. A Coach cannot give character to those who don’t have it.” These words from a man as well respected in Milan as Suarez are sure to have an impact, it remains to be seen whether Jose Mourinho will take this criticism of his team without a reaction.
On the subject of Mourinho, the flamboyant Coach did have something to say about the Champions League this week, but it was about the team from Milan who play in the Rossonero colours: “I am happy for Milan and Leonardo. They have had a difficult season. To win in the Bernabeu was historic, just like the loss to Zurich at San Siro.” Whoever warned that one should beware of Greeks bearing gifts had obviously never tangled with the Special (gloved) One with his back against the wall.
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