On Sunday AC Milan ended Inter's unbeaten home record after 32 months. The Champions of Italy and Europe are going backwards under Benitez. In Nerazzurri's downfall there is no trace of other teams improvement - Serie A's football has never looked so ordinary and UEFA Champions League's Group A opponents are not heavyweights. It's a mixture of errors and mismanagement that have led Inter to an unexpected low.
Joel Obi: out for a month because of a thigh strain
1. 2010 World Cup
Inter had 10 players involved in South Africa. Many of them have struggled to cope with the extra month of football after a long and very demanding season. Some of them still look drained. To play short of form and fitness can only partially explain the current injury plague.
Last term the total amount of injuries was 12. After only three months and a half in the new season the number is 31. The difference is so huge that no one can argue: Benitez and his staff are not unlucky victims, they are responsible. Such injury proneness must be related to the new training regime.
3. Transfer market
Some fans blame the lack of top-class signings and/or good replacements after the Treble. Players in: Coutinho, Biabiany, Castellazzi. Total bought: €8.3m. Players out: Balotelli, Burdisso, Quaresma, Jimenez, Krhin, Rincon, Filkor, Daminuta. Total sold: €53.2m. Moratti’s unwillingness to bolster Inter squad during the summer cannot be denied. However, a good coach is the one who can assess players potential and evaluate their qualities in order to determine the system best suited for them. Not the opposite. So far Samuel Eto'o - in a proper striker position again - is the only player who has taken advantage of Benitez schemes.
Rafa Benitez was genuinely excited by the prospect to coach so many great players, but he was too frenetic to stamp his mark in order to cancel the ghost of Mourinho. Too many changes too soon have undermined players' confidence. Some woeful tactical decisions added unnecessary confusion. Most of all he forgot that counterattack is in Inter's DNA. Inter greatest sides relied on fast-break counter-attack: 1963-65 (coach: Helenio Herrera); 1979-80 (Eugenio Bersellini); 1988-89 (Giovanni Trapattoni); 2008-10 (Jose Mourinho). More humility would have led the Spanish coach towards safer choices, like a deeper defensive line.
5. Mourinho's shadow
Jose Mourinho is a phenomenal motivator. Not a sophisticated tactician but to achieve success in football you need to play with confidence. The Portuguese is the best motivator of all. Under him players feel like gladiators and play accordingly. Inter players body language against Spurs and AC Milan said that last year's never-beaten-attitude is lost. And frequent comparisons with Real Madrid don't help either. Inter need to rack up a string of important wins to restore their winning mentality and finally put Jose among the good old [and inspiring] memories.