Massimo Moratti: time for action?
Injuries forced Rafa Benitez to avoid experiments. The Spanish coach selected the most logical lineup with Esteban Cambiasso returning alongside Dejan Stankovic in midfield, behind the Pandev-Sneijder-Biabiany trio. After few minutes it was plain to see that not even the return to the old deep defensive line seemed to help. Humility, good sense and conservative tactics sometimes are not enough when players are paralysed. And Inter players were.
In the post-match conference the Spanish coach tried to protect and reassure his players, who looked very demoralised. "I think my players today were brave and they fought very hard on a heavy pitch. I know we are supposed to win these games but in a couple of days we'll have the chance to win against Twente and to qualify for the Champions League's next round. I think it's important," said the Spaniard.
Benitez was man enough to avoid any excuses. No mention of the post hit by Goran Pandev from a tight angle at the minute 13. The Spanish coach admitted that Castellazzi, with three fine saves, was the best man on the pitch for Inter and that says it all.
The Chievo's game was treated like a Cup final by Inter board but the players' attitude was more typical of a team fighiting to avoid relegation. Amateur defending and lack of creativity and fluidity were evident.
Samuel Eto'o scoring at the minute 92 his 18th goal of the season [in 17 appearences!], when the game was nearly over, sums it up Inter's misery. Despite the striker's outstanding vein seems unstoppable, his goals do not help Inter avoiding defeats. On the contrary, at the moment Inter and Eto'o seem to go opposite directions.
Poachers are used to say that any goal matters. Not true. The mark of the true Champions, the ones with capital 'C', is that they score decisive goals. In the previous 91 minutes, when Inter desperately needed a goal or at least a shot, the Cameroon striker tried only once and it went over the bar. Eto'o made people in Verona aware of his presence only at the minute 37 when he headbutted [à la Zidane] Chievo's defender Cesar in the chest. A silly retaliation not sanctioned by the referee. But Inter' number nine may face a disciplinary action that could result in a 3-game suspension. A behaviour irresponsible and inexcusable, to say the least. Most of all not accapable from a footballer so experienced.
Inter need desperately a leader on the pitch. Someone willing to carry the team on his shoulders when the going gets tough. It was not a problem last season because the leader was on the bench. Nationality? Portoguese. No, not Quaresma. Mourinho's charisma was so big to be felt on the pitch by Inter players and by their opponents too. That factor's gone and the Boys should behave like adults now.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Luca Castellazzi. He was the difference between a 2-1 and a 4-1 defeat.
Serie A 2010-11 / Day 13
CHIEVO-INTER 2-1 (1-0)
CHIEVO VERONA: Sorrentino, Frey, Andreolli, Cesar, Mantovani; Fernandes, Rigoni, Marcolini (Guana 64'), Constant (Bogliacino 86'), Thereau; Pellissier (Moscardelli 67'). Coach: Pioli
INTER MILAN: Castellazzi; Santon, Lucio, Cordoba, J. Zanetti; Stankovic (A. Mancini 86'), Cambiasso (Nwankwo 55'); Pandev, Sneijder, Biabiany (Alibec 67'); Eto’o. Coach: Benitez
Scorer: Pellissier 28', Moscardelli 81'; Eto'o 92'
Yellow cards: Fernandes, Rigoni, Thereau; Stankovic