This week in Serie A, it is like the reverse of the international break. Instead of having to sit through the tedium of the debate about Marcello Lippi’s team selection and another poor performance from the Azzurri, we have enjoyed an extra round of Serie A fixtures in mid-week.
Although the prospect of watching their side play another mid-week fixture (given the last few Champions League outings) may not excite all Inter fans, Thursday night saw Palermo visit the Giuseppe Meazza and give the champions a good game despite being fours goals down at half-time. A powerful front-line of Fabrizio Miccoli and Edinson Cavani, provided a stern test for Inter’s backline who, whilst full of talented players, are not immune to the odd lapse in concentration.
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the match will have had very little to do with the on-pitch action, and more to do with the fact that Jose Mourinho has broken character and confessed that he actually likes another person. During a press conference Mourinho was asked about Palermo Coach (and former Inter goalkeeper) Walter Zenga, and offered these words of praise: “Zenga is my friend, but he will be my enemy tomorrow for 90 minutes. Will he be my heir at Inter? I don’t make the decisions, but I would like to see him here in Milan.” This puts Zenga into an elite club of people that Mourinho actually likes, but if Palermo had managed to get the victory on yesterday, it would have been interesting to read the Coaches’ reactions.
On the subject of the match, Mourinho seemed positive, saying that every player in the squad had been training well, but issued what could be taken as a warning to his squad: “It’s difficult, but you need to play games with a winning mentality. High level players have to be ready to play all the time.” The Coach expects his squad to play with desire, but more importantly to have the belief in themselves that they can win every game they play. As a man who considers himself a master of mind games, Mourinho needs to use his motivational abilities to restore his team’s self-belief. Post match, Mourinho seemed justifiably angry with his team, seeing as they had let the Rosanero back into the game after leading so comfortably at the break: “I wasn’t nervous, I was angry and worried because the match was closed. Sometimes it can happen that a team loses concentration. Tonight the intensity dropped a bit in the second half.”
The good news for Inter is that the squad is looking very strong on the injuries front, Thiago Motta and Diego Milito both took part in the game, and the only player missing was Wesley Sneijder. With the fixture congestion over the course of the next week, this news will be a boost to the Nerazzurri, giving them the best chance of coming out on top of Serie A and having a chance to remain in the Champions League.
Meanwhile, Dejan Stankovic has given Inter fans reason to celebrate this week, by saying that he wants to end his career in a Nerazzurro shirt. The Serbian midfielder is clearly in love with the club and the city and said: “There is not much to discuss to renew my deal. I can’t picture myself with another shirt and things will naturally fall into place. I am part of a family here.” Stankovic’s form has been excellent this term, and the thought of him staying in Milan – and his obvious commitment to the club – will make everyone associated with la Beneamata happy.
Finally, goalkeeper Julio Cesar has offered a fully signed Inter jersey to anyone who can return his wife’s lost purse. Susana Werner, a Brazilian model and actress, was attending the game to watch her husband against Catania on Sunday and lost her purse at the stadium. It contained important documents that the couple are anxious to have returned. The goalkeeper made an appeal on behalf of his wife, saying: “I don’t expect to have the money returned. But in the purse, there were a series of important papers to us.” Football Italiano hopes that the papers are returned, but can’t help but wonder if they would have been lost if Julio Cesar had them in his extremely safe hands.
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