The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
By Max De Luca
The stage was set for the young gunslinger to make a name for himself and impose order and discipline upon a club that’s been lacking stability in recent years.
More experienced men have come through the door at Appiano Gentile only to leave town broken and defeated.
Four proud men have been humbled since the ‘Special One’ rode off in the sunset for pastures new after delivering the treble to the team’s success-starved supporters.
But Jose Mourinho’s heroic exploits now cast a long shadow over his San Siro successors, with the pressure to emulate his achievements a burden too heavy to bear for most.
Andrea Stramaccioni was supposed to be different. He was an outsider from the capital city, with fresh new tactics and an idealistic mindset.
Strama was the young gun that would lead Inter back from the wilderness but things have not quite worked out as planned.
There was a positive vibe floating around San Siro at the beginning of the season and those feelings only intensified as Inter reeled off seven consecutive victories.
Two of those wins came over rivals Milan and Juventus, with the 3-1 triumph over the Scudetto holders the most satisfying of the bunch.
The Nerazzurri walked into enemy territory in Turin with guns blazing and took the reigning champions down.
Inter ended Juve’s 49-game Serie A unbeaten streak and handed them their first setback in their new stadium. It looked and felt like it was a watershed moment for the team.
Stramaccioni’s gang was heading for a top-three finish and there was even talk of mounting a Scudetto challenge (which was always a tad ambitious but seems utterly preposterous now).
All in all, things were falling together nicely for our young Roman hero.
Storm clouds were about to descend upon Inter’s top brass as the Wesley Sneijder situation threatened to boil over.
It was amateur hour at Appiano Gentile, with Marco Branca as the host of the show. After a protracted transfer saga, the Dutch dynamo was sold to Galatasaray for a paltry fee of €7.5 million. It was an enormous gaffe that will likely cost Branca his job in the summer.
Injuries began to mount and started to derail what had looked like a very promising year. The team lost their grip on third place, winning only three out of 10 games after the holidays.
The amount of players in the infirmary was soon becoming a major concern. Trusted veterans of many successful campaigns like Javier Zanetti, Walter Samuel and Diego Milito were no longer available and the squad suffered.
Inter set a new record for futility with their 15th loss of the season midweek against Lazio. The end of the term cannot come fast enough for the players, club officials and fans.
Two out of the 15 defeats have come to Siena, who are basically a Juventus feeder team that always play Inter tough, but that can hardly be a viable excuse.
Two more setbacks came at the hands of Atalanta. A loss in Bergamo is not the end of the world but blowing a two-goal lead in the second half at home to lose 4-3 is unacceptable.
Inter are currently 33 points behind Juve, a far cry from their position in the table after their November win in Turin.
Inter president Massimo Moratti has publicly stated that changes will be made in the summer.
So now it’s up to the oil baron to decide whether to keep the current boss or hire another man to ride into town and take care of business