"Football is about glory, it is about doing things in style and with a flourish, about going out and beating the lot, not waiting for them to die of boredom".
Surely Inter Milan coach Claudio Ranieri never read nor heard anything of the great Danny Blanchflower, otherwise he'd have picked different words to comment Nerazzurri's last gasp win at Siena: "I'm very glad because my players fought bravely and in the end they got three points, and that was all that mattered".
Only true diehard fans could manage to go through the whole of the Siena-Inter match, til the very end. But they were rewarded in the 89th minute when Luc Castaignos hit the winner - a low drive, after a short pass from Thiago Motta at the edge of the penalty area. But that wouldn't be the correct picture of the game.
One snap-shot of Siena-Inter says more than anything else about the game and Inter's evolution: Ricky Alvarez playing alongside Thiago Motta, a few yards before the halfway-line, playing the slowest football ever witnessed. The slowest pair of midfielders you can imagine in modern football, passing the ball each other, nearly motionless.
Boring everyone to death and [apparently] happy to be doing so. They were so slow that it was amazing not to see them filmed in black and white. Movement and passing that looked too old and tedious even for the standard of the Fifties. Unreal. Just few seconds, a couple of touches, but more than enough to summarize the state of the art. Embarrassing.
The heart of the game lies in midfield and Ranieri seems content to kill opponents with a lethal dose of boredom. Now we know that this is part of a win-no-matter-how strategy.
Apart from the evergreen Javier Zanetti and Walter Samuel - both, once again, the best men on the pitch - Inter's approach confirmed their mid-table status: a bunch of very committed players, hoping their efforts would be rewarded with a positive result.
Claudio Ranieri is experienced enough to be aware of the poor football on show from his players and knows that it's better not to talk about his team performances. That is why he often tries to divert the talk towards something else, like suggesting that "Luc Castaignos has a lot in common with David Trezeguet". Wow! What a comparison.
What a heavy burden on Castaignos shoulders, to be linked with one the best European strikers of the last decade. Can he really blossom into one of the top three strikers in Europe in one year’s time? Until the final minutes of Siena-Inter the only thing Castaignos had in common with Trezeguet was that in 2011-12 neither of them had scored in four outings.
Serie A 2011-12 / Day 14
Siena: Brkic; Vitiello, Rossettini, Terzi, Del Grosso; Mannini, D'Agostino, Gazzi (70' Bolzoni), Brienza; Calaiò (64' Reginaldo), Larrondo (75' Gonzalez). Coach: Sannino
Inter: Julio Cesar; Nagatomo, Ranocchia, Samuel, Zanetti; Cambiasso (81' Milito); Alvarez (46' Obi), Stankovic, Thiago Motta, Zarate (46' Castaignos); Pazzini. Coach: Ranieri
Referee: De Marco
Goal: 89' Castaignos
Yellow cards: Terzi; Ranocchia
Red card: Brienza (90')