Mar 26, 2012, 5:35 PM EDT
If anything, this move came a lot later than people were expecting, because for a long time now it’s been clear: Inter needed to try something else.
Claudio Ranieri replaced Gian Piero Gasperini after three Serie A matches, gave the club a bit of a boost, but never provided the same boost Leonardo instilled when he came in for Rafa Benítez last year. Now, Inter’s promoted Primavera coach Andrea Stramaccioni, their sixth coach in 22 months, as they desperately try to salvage their season.
That salvage operation probably has Europa League in its sights, though some early reports have referenced Champions League. That’s not going to happen. Inter is 10 points behind third-place Lazio (remember, Italy is now a 2+1 league, not a 3+1). In order for Inter to qualify for Champions League, they would have to out-perform Lazio, Napoli, Udinese, Roma, and Catania over the season’s final nine games. How many of those teams have they out-performed to this point this year? You guessed it: Zero.
The last team on that list is really eye-opening. Nothing against Catania, but they’re basically an Argentine enclave in Serie A (they have 10 Argentines on their roster). As those players get used to Italian soccer, they are often snatched up by the league’s big boys, including Inter Milan. To see Catania ahead of Inter after 29 rounds is a real wake up call.
Another eye-opener: Only five clubs in Serie A have lost more matches than Inter’s 12.
It’s an aging team, they’re having a bad season, and perhaps their 2009-10 treble-winning campaign under José Mourinho took something out of them that they can never get back. But this team still has Diego Forlán, Diego Milito, and Giampaolo Pazzini. They still have Wesley Sneijder, Javier Zanetti and Esteban Cambiasso. They still have Lucio, Yuto Nagatomo, Walter Samuel, Maicon and Julio Cesar. No, this team should not be in eighth … in any league.
None of that matters, now. All that matters is getting into Europe, which (as of now) means reaching sixth place. That’s currently held by Roma, three points ahead of the Nerazzurri. Depending what happens with the Coppa Italia, Inter may have to climb even higher than that.
It’s an awfully tall order for an awfully new coach.
- Talking points on Portland’s 2-2 draw with Vancouver 0
- PSG president confirms Saturday was likely David Beckham’s farewell match 2
- As Alex Ferguson says goodbye, Manchester United’s cupboard remains stocked 0
- Bayern Munich finish German season 25 points ahead of Borussia Dortmund 0
- England’s top four: Games that matter in the English Premier League’s last round 0
- Oxbow ends Orb's Triple Crown hopes
- PBT: Pacers top Knicks, punch ticket to conf. finals
- PST: Teary Beckham likely plays final game
- PFT: Pre-draft fears about Gronk coming true
- MST: Carpenter wins pole for 97th Indianapolis 500
- CBT: Chance Coach K returns for '16 Games
- PHT: Couture strikes in OT, lifting Sharks in Game 3
- Play Video: Highlights: Union outlast Fire
- Play Video: Sir Alex says goodbye
- Play Video: Morgan committed to growth of new women's league
- Play Video: Boy with cancer, 8, scores against major league soccer team
- Play Video: Red Bulls pull off win on the road
- Play Video: Highlights: Montreal extinguish Chicago