If Novara had to face only Inter, manager Emiliano Mondonico would be dreaming of Champions League football now. Hardly any other team will be so generous to them as Inter.
Six points in two games was the maximum Novara could achieve and they got all six against Nerazzurri. Despite the two sides now being led by two different coaches, the outcome was still the same. A Caracciolo's gem was the only goal of the game. More than enough to kill Inter hopes avenging the defeat in Rome with a win.
A clear penalty denied (Poli was clearly fouled), a prodigious save from Pazzini’s shot and a bar hit by Sneijder could have written a different result but the truth is that only losers explain defeat with bad luck. When you play against Novara, choosing to start with Cordoba, Chivu and Stankovic ahead of Ranocchia, Nagatomo and Obi you have already lost [whatever the result]. Just talking about psychology and motivation.
If man management was bad, tactical wisdom turned out to be even worse. To face a team like Novara [10 men behind the ball] with no wide men; no wingers, no overlapping fullbacks, pretending instead to use the central corridor - the most crowded area of the pitch - as the main attacking option was simply suicidal. Such a set up could lead only to a very tough game. And in balanced games you can win or lose. Fifty-fifty percentage. But it was Ranieri's colossal list of mistakes [and Mondonico's shrewdness] that allowed Inter-Novara to be a match on the edge.
Serie A 2011-12 / Day 23
INTER: Julio Cesar; Zanetti, Cordoba, Lucio, Chivu (70' Nagatomo); Poli (62' Forlan), Stankovic, Cambiasso; Alvarez (46' Pazzini), Sneijder; Milito. Coach: Ranieri
NOVARA: Ujkani; Lisuzzo, Centurioni, Garcia; Dellafiore (12' Morganella), Porcari (46' Pesce), Radovanovic, Rigoni, Gemiti (65' Paci); Jeda; Caracciolo. Coach: Mondonico
Goal: Caracciolo 56'
Yellow cards: Porcari, Morganella
Red card: Radovanovic (80')