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

Gianluca Nesci On March - 6 - 2012

Inter-View: Who’s to Blame?

“This is like a marriage, the husband is always the last person to know what the wife is doing.”

That is how Claudio Ranieri described his position as Inter manager after the club’s most recent match on Sunday, a 2-2 draw with Catania at the San Siro.

The comments came after he was asked about the possibility of being fired by president Massimo Moratti, amidst what seems to be never-ending speculation.

In truth, it is the type of speculation that has characterized the club since the departure of Jose Mourinho in 2010, and the disappointing results that followed.

But how much of that falls on the shoulders of the four men who have tried to fill the shoes of the current Real Madrid boss?

Having four different managers come in over a dismal two-year span must speak not to the quality of the men behind the bench, but rather, to the current crop of talent at their disposal.

When one manager disappoints, then it is acceptable to point the finger at that individual. But four complete failures on the back of one another should be a concern for upper management.

Much was made of the injury crisis that arose under Rafael Benitez as a result of his emphasis on the weight-room at Appiano Gentile. When Leonardo stepped in as a replacement, he was criticized due to a lack of managerial experience.

Then came a five-month nightmare for Gian Piero Gasperini. After the Nerazzurri collected one draw and four defeats in all competitions under the former Genoa manager, change was once again in the air.

Enter the Tinkerman, the perennial caretaker for clubs in the Italian top-flight. After an impressive run that saw Inter win seven straight Serie A matches while conceding only two goals – including a 1-0 win over AC Milan – the peninsula was rife with talk of La Beneamata claiming the third and final Champions League birth.

Fast-forward just over a month later, and the wheels seem to have fallen off, again.

Inter have taken only two points from their last seven matches and have been held scoreless five times during that stretch. The club is in very real danger of missing out on the Champions League, as they sit in seventh place in the league table, 11 points behind third-placed Lazio.

With Andre Villas-Boas receiving his marching orders from Chelsea boss Roman Abramovich on Sunday, speculation arose almost immediately surrounding the future of the young Portuguese manager. Much of that was centered on the San Siro, with many people quick to conclude that Ranieri had coached his final match for Inter.

But with an encouraging second-half comeback that saw the Nerazzurri battle from a 2-0 deficit to rescue a point against Catania at the weekend, Moratti seems to have granted Ranieri a reprieve.

If you believe retired defender Fulvio Collovati, Ranieri can thank Diego Milito for the fact that he is still employed.

“The Milito goal saved Ranieri,” the former Inter player told Domenica Sportiva. “After the first 70 minutes against Catania, Inter would have found it very difficult to keep him.”

So while Ranieri remains in charge, for now, the situation has become a matter of when he will be sent packing, not if.

Would the hiring of the young Portuguese manager really be the answer? Can the man that many have likened to Mourinho be the one to finally steady the ship?

Inter legend Sandro Mazzola doesn’t think so.

“He has just been sacked at Chelsea and there must be a reason, right? I do not think he can make a difference,” he told Tuttomercatoweb.

With the current state of the club, it seems nobody can make a difference.

Quite simply, Inter are a far cry from what they once were under Mourinho, and that is something that cannot be changed regardless of who is put in charge.

No manager will help Wesley Sneijder rediscover the form of his life that he enjoyed during Inter’s historic treble-winning campaign. Nor will he be able to return Maicon to the player who was revered as the best full-back on the planet.

In addition, that manager cannot turn Giampaolo Pazzini or Mauro Zarate into Samuel Eto’o.

After a revolving door of men behind the bench, it should be clear that the problem is in the personnel on the pitch.

With an aging squad and Financial Fair Play restrictions on the horizon, things don’t look to be getting any better any time soon. Both fans and management alike need to accept the fact that the days of utter dominance have come to an end for the Nerazzurri.

Only then can they begin to rebuild a squad that is desperately crying out for a new beginning.

The old guard is simply not as good as they once were. That has been coupled with a changing landscape in the Serie A, as the league finally boasts a strong core of teams who can realistically challenge for the Scudetto each and every year.

Unless Massimo Moratti and Marco Branca take action, Inter runs the risk of not being amongst that group.

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