After the game Inter president Massimo Moratti said: "I can't sack Ranieri, not after losing a tie with Marseille who scored their two goals in injury time". True. But this loss should be the first step to a new Inter, otherwise the pain for the defeat will be buried only by the disappointment of a failure to move on.
Certainly Claudio Ranieri deserves to be the coach until the end of the season. Certainly he can't be Inter's coach next season. Mainly because Inter can't regain a winning mentality under a coach who said "we have been unlucky, we are out but we played better than Marseille and the only problem was that we missed too many chances".
But to address that problem should have been Ranieri's duty. And to defend his job with seven wasted goal opportunities against Marseille was not the most convincing argument, considering how average Deschamps' team is. To lose against such a poor side like the current OM, has nothing to do with bad luck. Bad luck counted only because of Inter's huge problems that made Marseille look like a mountain that was very hard to climb. But it should have never been that way.
To start the game with Poli in Cambiasso's positioned on the left side of the midfield diamond, with Zanetti on the right and Stankovic in the middle is the mark of Ranieri's tenure. Poli is the only midfielder left in Inter squad who has some of the qualities needed to act as the playmaker in front of the back four. On the contrary Ranieri rates him as a better version of Obi. The result was that Poli on the left was ineffective and Stankovic in the middle very predictable as usual. But any XI, even being played out of position, should have beaten OM anyway - Sneijder and Milito's early chances confirmed that.
However, Inter didn't have any realistic possibility to win the 2012 Champions League, so this early exit can be the opportunity to plan in advance for the next season. Planning has never been Moratti's forte. Revisiting his 17-year reign, the three most evident facts are:
1. The huge number of coaches appointed
2. The quantity of World class players signed (from Ronaldo to Eto'o);
3. The wins concentrated in a short space of time.
The inability to build stable basis to strive for success [to strive not to achieve] is a consequence but also a cause, as it's plain to see that (stable basis) has never been one of Moratti's goal. The chairman's only aim was [and still is] to win straight away, no matter how, no matter who coaches the team. He's like a fan. Suffers like a fan. Plans like a fan. That's why he so loved by Inter's fans but this is also his main limit. Mancini and Mourinho managed to hide that, whereas the others coaches failed. Inter need a coach of similar charisma, capable to impose his views on the team, on the board.
Champions League 2011-12 - 1/8 finals 2nd leg / Milano, San Siro
Inter: Julio Cesar; Maicon, Lucio, Samuel, Nagatomo; Zanetti, Stankovic, Poli (74' Cambiasso); Sneijder (58' Obi); Forlan (58' Pazzini), Milito. Coach: Ranieri
Marsiglia: Mandanda; Azpilicueta, Diawara, N'Koulou, Morel; Diarra, Mbia; Amalfitano, Valbuena (76' Cheyrou), A. Ayew (94' Bracigliano); Remy (88' Brandao). Coach: Deschamps
Referee: Proenca (Portugal)
Goals: Milito 75', Pazzini 95' pen; Brandao 92'
Yellow cards: Zanetti, Samuel, Stankovic; Diawara, Mandanda
Red card: Mandanda (94')