So that’s it the 2010/2011 season has come to a close & what a rollercoaster it’s been, filled with victories, anger, disappointment & pride.
In this season review i’ll go through what went right and what went wrong for the Nerazzurri this season.
After five years of superiority in Serie A Inter have lost the Scudetto to our cross town rivals AC Milan who have claimed the title for the 1st time in 7 years and as disappointing as this is the mood amongst Interisti isn’t as bad as you’d think as for all the disappointment of losing the Scudetto there is still plenty for us to hold our heads high with pride for.
Inter’s season has been full of twists and turns that have made this campaign almost like watching a medium budget Hollywood production. We came no where near reaching the fantastic feats of last season’s treble but neither have we sunk like the Titanic as was expected at one point when we were sat in a miserable mid table position with no sign of the ‘Grande’ Inter of Mourinho’s reign, but let’s go back to where it started with Jose Mourinho’s tearful farewell shortly after winning our historic treble that marked the end of an era but also in my opinion had massive implications in the morale of the Inter players which had a huge impact on how the defences of our title was going to go, a season with far too many mistakes.
The first of these mistakes was the hiring of Rafael Benitez who in my opinion is one of the worst managers in Inter’s history, almost straight away there was tension in the management as Moratti refused to sign new players in the summer as he believed there was no need and Benitez disagreed. Inter’s Benitez era is best summed up by the phrase ‘it was not meant to be’ though i prefer to look at it as ‘why did we hire the manager who was being called useless by Liverpool fans who were supposed to love him?’ anyway during this time Injuries mounted, player discontent increased, results deteriorated and Benitez himself became erratic in his decisions, he clearly wanted to build his own team that worked to his philosophy but the players were missing the techniques and regime of the ‘Special one’ now at Real Madrid.
Though we managed to secure the Italian Super Cup against a terrible Roma team the European Super Cup was well out of our reach with a bad performance from the team and already it was starting to become clear Benitez had no control over the Inter squad. With a divide ripping through the Inter camp by December the Nerazzurri was looking half the team they were under Mourinho. Winning the Club World Cup got the spirit of the players and fans back up but Benitez still wasn’t happy and after an unproffesional outburst during the post match interview Moratti decided that enough was enough and fired the Spaniard.
Then on Christmas eve phase two of the season started with the shock appointment of ex AC Milan man Leonardo, the Brazilian took the Biscione by storm and managed to paper over some of the cracks which were showing in the team and also his own tactical abilities but he was getting the results and all of a sudden Inter were back in the Scudetto race and still on for a second treble in a row which was reinforced by our fantastic comeback win over Bayern Munich in the Champions league last 16 match, though defensivly we were letting in far too many goals in all compititions with Leonardo’s all out attack philosophy, this became the focus of attention during one of the most disasterous week’s in the club’s history as we lost 3-0 to rivals AC Milan and hammered by a mediocre Shalke team in the champions league quarter finals which knocked us out of the European competition and eventually out of the running for the Scudetto, on the plus side we secured the Coppa Italia in confident style on the last match of the season.
After the disasterous start to the season under Benitez any Interisti would be more than happy with 3 trophies, 2nd place in the league and a decent run in the Champions league but it was the manner of Inter’s failure that left a bitter taste in our mouths, even under Leonardo the team failed at decisive moments and with an ageing squad and numerous injuries the inabilities and lack of creativity and poor back up for the defensive positions were highlighted. It is now clear that work needs to be done for next season with an injection of youth to freshen up our squad which still is very talented.
Leonardo’s appointment was never designed to win, it was meant to rescue. And the Brazilian has done very well in fulfilling that brief. He was caught out tactically by more experienced tacticians as seen against Udinese, Milan and Schalke, but he is also the reason why Inter won’t look at this as an utter failure of a season. Moratti and Branca made some vital signings in January of which Giampaolo Pazzini’s acquisition has reaped the best rewards. Andrea Ranocchia may yet shine given an opportunity of full pre-season training and working with the likes of Walter Samuel, whose injury was quite possibly the biggest reason why Inter leaked goals like a damaged water pipe. Yuto Nagatomo brought something to Inter that had been missing for the longest time, a pacey left-back. But, his sustainability throughout a campaign is yet questionable.
The best thing that has happened for Inter this season is that they have relinquished the title. It has made Moratti realize that his squad needs a spark if he plans to sustain their success levels from years past. Moves are being made to address this issue and Leonardo’s confirmation as Coach for next season is the first step towards ensuring a stable and developmental approach for the future.
Coach – Leonardo:
The Brazilian’s statistics fail to highlight his failures but they reflect handsomely on his success. Inter won every single home game in the league under him but when it really mattered they failed to deliver. He definitely needs to work on the tactical side of the game, but motivationally he is one of the best and knows how to get the most out of his team.
Player of the Season – Samuel Eto’o:
There are no other contenders for this honour as without him, Inter would have been a laughing stock for the first half of their season. He took on the responsibility of scoring and delivered, resulting in 37 goals for Inter this season beating his previous personal best of 36 he scored for Barca, if he can continue in the same vein next season and with Pazzini along, Inter can feel secure.
Turning point – Milan 3-0 Inter:
This was the beginning of the end for Inter. They conceded in the opening minute and gradually lost the plot as the game unfolded. A win would have put them top, but they flopped and it was followed by an even worse performance against Schalke in the infamous 2-5 defeat.
What’s to come?
Hopefully Inter will break the habit of a lifetime and make a real effort to compete with Europe’s biggest teams to secure the signatures of some big names which means Moratti needs to spend some serious money, time will tell and all we can do is sit back and see what happens over the summer. One thing is definite though Inter will be a force to be reckoned with next season no matter what happens.