Inter’s 5-0 victory over Genoa on Sunday was as brilliant as it was perplexing. How a team that has stuttered its way through the last few weeks of Serie A can beat such a talented side so convincingly perfectly sums up the current state of F.C. Internazionale. There is a lot of potential, but it is yet to be realised on a weekly basis.
Make no mistake about it, la Beneamata are clearly the best side in Serie A. This has never been in question. What people, including Football Italiano , have been wondering this season is whether their lack of consistency would let one of their rivals beat them to lo Scudetto. But if they can maintain the kind of form they showed on Saturday then it may well prove to be a very short title race.
A new attacking system was showcased by Jose Mourinho against Genoa, featuring Mario Balotelli as the lone striker with Dejan Stankovic and Wesley Sneijder supporting from advanced midfield roles. This 4-5-1 which transformed into an attacking 4-3-3 gave the side a much more fluid attack that the Genoa defence could not control. More importantly, from a fan’s perspective, it was an Inter side that was attractive to watch, breaking the stereotype of Mourinho’s efficient but boring sides.
Mourinho himself was cautious in victory, reminding his team that no matter how good the performance, each win only brings three points: “We only won a match,” he said, “It was not a perfect match, just three important points. That’s what matters to me. I would have traded this 5-0 win with five 1-0 wins.” Whilst this may be true Jose, would you have traded the performance? A win like this can do more for the team in terms of belief and morale than any 1-0 victory could. The coach was also uncharacteristically generous, applauding Genoa’s fans for their continued support even as their team was getting thrashed, saying: “Genoa’s fans were spectacular. It isn’t easy to lose 5-0 at home.”
Despite their coach’s caution, Inter’s stars were not so guarded in their reactions. “It was a great match and a great collective display,” said Sneijder. “We were perfect in the first half” enthused a jubilant Stankovic, “winning 5-0 is really great. My goal? I moved a bit to the right hoping for a mistake on the goal kick. I was lucky.” This is a somewhat modest description of a great goal, considering that – although he was fortunate, few players would have had the presence of mind to finish the chance as he did.
Now that task for the Nerazzurri lies in defeating Dynamo Kiev to revitalise their Champions League campaign. With only two points so far, they really need to find their form if they are to avoid an embarrassing exit in the group stage. Jose Mourinho has also been trying to keep the squad from feeling pressure ahead of this game, whilst making sure they know it is important, saying: “This isn’t a decisive game, there are still 12 points up for grabs. It is an important game as it could mean calm or pressure.” Despite his attempts to keep his team calm, Mourinho will realise that six points from the games against Dynamo Kiev will be vital, because anything less than that will leave the door open for Kiev themselves or Rubin Kazan to steal the other qualifying place behind Barcelona.
In transfer news, la Beneamata have apparently renewed their interest in signing Atletico Madrid striker Sergio Aguero. The Spanish side are performing badly so far this season and this could tempt the Argentine striker to leave in order to compete in the biggest competitions. Whether Aguero is what Inter actually need remains to be seen however, because although he is undoubtedly a highly talented player, he wouldn’t necessarily add an extra dimension to the Nerazzurri attack. With Balotelli, Samuel Eto’o and Diego Milito already competing for starts, Aguero might have to make do with spending time on the bench, and for the price he is likely to command, would be a very expensive backup.
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