The Nerazzurri’s most recent displays were so poor that we can already be sure that Ranieri will not be at Inter's helm next season. The sack could come earlier, but certainly not later than June. The UEFA Champions League is the only competition left for a team who have no chance to win it. New chaotic days and more dark clouds ahead.
Against Napoli, Ranieri tried to stick with the same formation and schemes adopted at Marseille, with the additions of Milito and Faraoni - replacing Zarate (tactical) and Maicon (injured) in the starting XI.
The final score in France was 1-0 to Marseille, but the game was even, whereas at San Paolo it was one-way traffic: 11-0 in corners to Napoli says it all. It’s pointless to pick out an individual mistake or praise somebody more than others. More than dreadful stats or individual performances it was the feeling of defeatism emanating from the whole team that made an impression.
Even before reaching the pitch, you could smell which of the two teams was confident, the favourite, and which was the scared team. And switching from 4-3-1-2 to 3-5-2 in the second half was the confirmation of it: if the players were scared, the Inter coach was even more so.
"In the first half Napoli attacked on the flanks, it was my duty to try to stop them there. I do not have anything to complain about Sneijder and Forlan but I had to address that problem," said Ranieri.
Pazzini missed the chance to score an equaliser on 87 minutes. It should have changed the result but not the feeling that Inter are a team who at best can survive, or at worst to lose against anyone. No ambition, no bravery, no grandeur left - hanging on with quiet desperation.
Serie A 2011-12 / Day 25
Napoli: De Sanctis; Campagnaro, Cannavaro, Aronica; Maggio, Inler, Gargano, Zuniga; Dzemaili (90' Dossena), Lavezzi (83' Britos); Cavani. Coach: Mazzarri
Inter: Julio Cesar; Faraoni, Lucio, Samuel, Nagatomo; Zanetti, Stankovic (67' Poli), Cambiasso; Sneijder (46' Pazzini); Milito, Forlan (46' Cordoba). Coach: Ranieri
Goal: Lavezzi 59'
Yellow card: Gargano; Nagatomo, Milito, Cordoba, Faraoni, Poli
Red card: Aronica (80')