Italian Serie A News, Results, Analysis and Features on Football Soccer

Gianluca Nesci On February - 10 - 2012

Inter-View: In Tatters Again

Just a few weeks ago Inter were the talk of the Serie A, for all the right reasons.

Seven consecutive wins on the back of solid defending and a return to form of striker Diego Milito saw the Nerazzurri shoot up the league table and become serious contenders for a Champions League place.

There were even whisperings of Inter being a legitimate threat to Juventus and Milan for the Scudetto. Neutral fans of calcio rejoiced; the big three were back at their best.

How quickly things change.

Fast-forward to the present, and the Nerazzurri now look like the team that stumbled out of the gate under former manager Gian Piero Gasperini. Winless in three matches – two of which being very disappointing losses – Inter now sit in fifth place on 36 points, nine back of league leaders Juventus.

But more importantly, they are five points adrift of Udinese for the third and final Champions League birth.

But the players are confident they can overcome the deficit and solidify a place amongst the top three. After all, there are still 16 matches remaining in the campaign. With the talent and experience in the current squad, Inter are still very much alive in the hunt for Europe.

“We have to start all over again with humility and remember that there are still so many matches left to allow us to get among the leaders,” defender Ivan Cordoba was quoted as saying on the club’s official website.

They are saying all the right things, but at the moment that is doing little to quell the worries of the Nerazzurri faithful.

The most pressing concern is the lack of consistency in defence. In the previous two matches against Palermo and Roma respectively, Inter have conceded an astonishing eight goals.

During the team’s seven match winning streak, Julio Cesar only picked the ball out of his net on two occasions.

As the old saying goes, defence wins championships.

Many were rushing to the defence of the players after four of those goals came in horrendous conditions against Palermo. Indeed, the snow and ice on the San Siro pitch made it more suitable for a hockey game than a football match.

So while Diego Milito’s incredible four-goal performance was wasted (no small thanks to Fabrizio Miccoli and his hat-trick), the back-four was given somewhat of a free pass.

When it happened at the Stadio Olimpico against Roma this past weekend, there was no excuse.

The capital club dominated from start to finish, hitting two goals on either side of halftime to post the eye-catching result of the weekend. For manager Claudio Ranieri, the result was an eye-opener, as he conceded after the match that Inter “cannot carry on like this.”

“For the last few weeks we have no longer been ourselves. We concede too many goals and can’t seem to play the football that we know we can,” he added. “We all have to rediscover ourselves on a mental and physical level. We’ve fallen many times and got back up, so we will do it again.”

Inter will need to do so very quickly, with the Champions League knockout stages fast approaching.

The Nerazzurri have a tricky away test against French giants Olympique de Marseille in the first leg of their round of sixteen contest, as the Stade Velodrome is sure to provide a raucous atmosphere on February 22.

The Coppa Italia is no longer a possibility, while hopes of winning the Scudetto seem to be gone as well for Ranieri and his men.

Europe’s premier club competition is the final frontier for Inter, and they will need to sort out recent problems if they have any hope of bringing silverware to the blue half of the San Siro this season.

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