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Ryan Ross On November - 10 - 2010

Internazionale: A Club In Crisis?

Much has been made of Internazionale’s performances this season; mixed results in Serie A and questionable performances in the Champions League have led to pressure being piled upon Rafael Benitez. Rumours of unrest amongst key players and on pitch bust-ups have provided a salvo of ammunition for the Media to fire at the Spaniard. Yet despite all this, are the European Champions really in that much of a crisis? And is Rafa Benitez really to blame?

Taking over any job which Jose Mourinho has just vacated is no easy task; especially given his style of management, leaving an aging squad behind for his successor. Last season fans of Inter experienced the highs every football fan dreams of. Yet now things have got tough, it is all too easy to reflect upon what has been. As well as Mourinho did last season, he was incredibly lucky with injuries and even with certain results; Roma were desperately unlucky to fall away at the last hurdle in their League challenge.

Key players such as Sneijder, Milito, Samuel and Lucio all had relatively injury free seasons. But now after playing almost every game last season and a World Cup during the summer, their bodies are breaking down. Walter Samuel was stretchered off last weekend against Brescia with a knee injury which has ruled him out for the season; that was Inter’s 33rd injury of the season. Some have tried to claim that the intensity of Benitez’s training regimes are to blame for this rapid increase. Yet surely it is more linked to the fact the majority of this squad are aged 30 or older, most have played continuous football for 18 months without a break and it isn’t possible to rotate sufficiently because of the demands placed upon Benitez to succeed after Mourinho.

Massimo Moratti decided to speak to the Press after the defeat to Tottenham Hotspur last week and criticise Benitez’s tactics. Describing the game he said, “How did we play? Not good, not good at all. That’s definitely not the way to reach our goals.”  “We lacked the play and character you need to make the game your’s. It was a weary evening.” Moratti implied Benitez should have done more to tackle the threat Gareth Bale posed too, “We noticed Bale in Milan and in London, he’s clearly very good. He’s a strong player, and obviously having come up against him before, we could’ve tried to stop him… who knows. Nevertheless, he did some fantastic stuff, but that’s another story.” When quizzed about the injury situation facing Benitez, “The situation is difficult and the important thing is to get all our injured players back, so we can reach the levels of previous years. It has not been like last year because of the injuries. But nothing is decisive at this stage of the season.” More supportive of Benitez here perhaps?

I think Moratti has to take a lot of the blame for the team’s situation this season. This summer the Owner decided to tighten the purse strings and not allow Benitez to make any significant signings, despite the fact they sold Mario Balotelli for €30 million to Manchester City. Not to mention all the prize money earned during the Treble winning season. The squad is looking bare and Benitez has had to call upon untried youngsters like Biabiany and Coutinho. He can’t be expected to repeat last season’s success with the current roster of players. Moratti needs to back the manager in January, a new defender, winger and another striker are all going to be key to Inter retaining their status as Champions this season.

So people need to give Benitez time to fix Inter’s issues and stop criticizing him. January will be key to changes in Inter’s season and the President needs to back the manager in the transfer window. Rafa has a proven record when it comes to bringing success to clubs and he will do so for Inter, but if the media keep up their campaign against him, it’ll take longer.

Ryan Ross

I became enthralled with Calcio back in the 90’s, when James Richardson presented Football Italia. My early mornings were spent following the trials and tribulations of Internazionale, during a period where they always flattered to deceive. It took a Frenchman to get me hooked though; Youri Djorkaeff, my favourite player of all time. This guy was key to Inter’s midfield, never mind his role in France’s World Cup win in 1998! I have a keen interest in Calcio’s rich history.

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