Another hiding for Inter. This time no snow, no excuses, no Milito to save a team that didn't show up for the game.
Ranieri explained the loss was down to a lack of concentration: "We played our best game against AC Milan. Probably we gave everything then, even in terms of nerves, and after the derby our team needed a break, just to recharge mental batteries. The goal scored by Juan proves that. Despite analysing that move before the game, we allowed him to jump all alone in the very centre of our penalty box. Nothing to do with physical form, just lack of concentration".
Ranieri’s analysis is basically honest and correct. Certainly not exhaustive. He forgot to say at least two or three things.
1. When you display no confidence at all in youngsters and/or reserves (see Poli, already slipped in the picking order behind Palombo), you must be fully aware that in moments of need you can't rely on players lacking confidence in themselves. But who's the culprit for instilling disillusion instead of motivation? A great coach is the one who can give the impression even to fringe player that they are all part of the team, all important even if with different roles. Reducing the weapons in your arsenal is not a wise policy.
2. If you play only on nerves the first stop can be definitive. Remember: in 2009-10 Roma under Ranieri overtook Mourinho's Inter, recovering a 14-point gap in 5 months, but once they reached that peak the Giallorossi lost 2-0 against Sampdoria at the Olimpico and allowed Inter to regain the lead until the end. Apparently history taught nothing.
3. Gratitude is a virtue but in football it can backfire. There are only two ways to face the truth of an ageing team: a) a clear out; b) a smooth transition, through the injection of one-two new younger players every year in the starting eleven. Ranieri apparently picked a third one: hiding the truth. Asked if (the injured) Guarin could help this team, Ranieri replied: "It's no time to say we need Guarin. We are missing even Sneijder, Forlan, Chivu, Stankovic. But we have to do better with the ones who did better until now. It's time to regroup, quickly and that's it". When it came to mention possible alternatives, the only names that came to Ranieri's mind were seasoned players. No surprises here.
Serie A 2011-12 / Day 22
Roma: Stekelenburg, Taddei, Juan, Heinze, Josè Angel; De Rossi, Gago (71' Simplicio), Pjanic, Lamela (73' Bojan), Totti, Borini (80' Piscitella). Coach: Luis Enrique
Inter: Julio Cesar, Maicon (Faraoni 67'), Lucio, Samuel (46' Cordoba), Nagatomo; Zanetti, Palombo, Cambiasso, Obi; Milito, Pazzini (46' Poli). Coach: Ranieri
Referee: De Marco
Goals: Juan 13', Borini 41', Borini 48', Bojan 89'
Yellow cards: De Rossi, Taddei, Juan; Maicon, Faraoni