Recent good results, over very average opponents, misled many. Despite those wins Inter were not building anything for the future, which was amazing for a team that sold Samuel Eto'o last summer and can't field Wesley Sneijder most of the time. If you don't try something different now, when will you?
It was so evident that Claudio Ranieri's ultra-safe policy (“We can’t afford to put too many youngsters in, we need to do it gradually”) missed the sparkle a spent force like the current Inter needed. You need a racer to exploit formula 1 cars not a bus driver. And, unfortunately, this is Ranieri's approach at the moment.
You have to think big and risk something in order to succeed. It's no favour to any of Inter old pros to allow them to play even if they don't perform. They are not all on the same level - Zanetti and Walter Samuel are doing wonders, whereas Christian Chivu’s inconsistency within the game is sometimes embarrassing. No revolution is needed, but here we are experiencing clear signs of involution instead of evolution.
The 4-4-2 chosen by Ranieri to face Di Natale & co. was so square and clearly designed to protect the defence, that it sent out only one message: we, Inter, fear you, Udinese.
Nerazzurri's midfield line, from right to left, was Faraoni, Thiago Motta, Cambiasso, Alvarez [another good spell, at least for Inter's current standards], all together behind Pazzini and Milito. A package with no chance to win anything
At best you can block your rivals, and that's what happened until the minute 73 when Isla hit the winner. Then Di Natale missed from the penalty spot , imitated some minutes later by Pazzini. A draw would have been fairer, and the former Fiorentina striker's miss was due to bad luck but you could hardly say Inter were robbed.
PS - during Inter-Udinese we witnessed a small piece of Inter's history, as Javier Zanetti got the first red card of his career in Serie A. Another sign of the times...
Serie A 2011-12 / Day 14
Inter: Julio Cesar; Zanetti, Ranocchia, Samuel, Chivu (80' Stankovic); Faraoni (62' Zarate), Thiago Motta, Cambiasso, Alvarez (46' Nagatomo); Pazzini, Milito. Coach: Ranieri
Udinese: Handanovic; Benatia, Danilo, Ferronetti; Basta, Isla, Pinzi, Asamoah, Armero; Torje (62' Floro Flores); Di Natale (91' Ekstrand). Coach: Guidolin
Goal: Isla 73'
Red card: Zanetti (85'); Ferronetti (90')
Yellow cards: Julio Cesar, Motta; Armero, Pinzi