First, let me say that I am not one of those fans who thinks my team is unbeatable. Quite the opposite, in fact. I think that on any given day, no matter what the statistics say or how a team looks "on paper," any team can beat any other team. That is one of the things I love about football. That said, my problem with this game is not the outcome per se - Napoli deserved to beat Inter on Sunday, no question. My problem is that Inter did not play up to their potential. We played a sloppy, overconfident, terrible match with no passion and no will to win. Mostly, I am disappointed with the overall attitude of the team. It was disgraceful. If you are going to go down, at least go down fighting.
Even the players knew that something was off. After the game, Chivu said:
"We didn't do our best tonight but we don't know why and we can't explain it. This is football, it's made up of episodes. Some days there's something that goes in your favour and on other days there's not. It all went against us today."
And from our captain:
"We have to be honest with ourselves. We didn't play our best football today but I want to reassure the fans. It's easy to be negative after a defeat but we will regain the maximum concentration."
The Small Rays of Sunshine
It would be easy to just write the whole game off, but the truth is, there were a few bright moments. I think, as a whole, the defense was not entirely crappy. Chivu and Samuel made some great interceptions, and I was, overall, happy with their performance.
Julio Cesar was ok. (Interestingly, he got the only "passing grade" from the fans.) He wasn't stupendous - but he was still serviceable. I kind of wish he had actually tried to stop that goal instead of remaining rooted to his line, but I can live with his game.
I know that I will probably catch a whole lot of flack for this, but I think Balotelli did ok. True, he allowed them to wind him up, which is his huge shortcoming, but I thought he was much better about tracking back and playing for the team. He is also our best corner taker.
As a match, I thought the first half was promising for Inter. We had all the possession and forced a few saves from the keeper - it wasn't stellar, but it wasn't nearly as craptacular as our second half.
Oh, and this little quip from Daddy Moratti which actually made me snort:
Berlusconi said that they (Milan) would be close to Inter now if Adriano hadn't scored with his hand in the derby...
"I'll have to count Milan's penalties first, then we'll talk about it..."
Vieira, Vieira, Vieira, VIEIRA. Sure, he used to be good - quite recently, in fact - and he is tall, but come on! What on earth will take for him to get benched? He was so bad that I dont even know where to start. Of course, Mancini wasn't all that great either. Neither was Cruz, for that matter. Now I am just depressing myself.... Basically, most everyone if not outright sucked, played far below par. Blech
And joy of joys, we go into the Lazio match with no Balotelli and no Stankovic - both are suspended after picking up cards on Sunday. If Muntari does not recover - well... I dont want to think about that. This must be what it feels like to be a Roma or Juve fan: a chunk of your good players suspended or injured and losing to teams you really aught to beat. Brrrrrh.
Clearly, I am not in the most lighthearted of moods. I guess I will cut this short before I drag you all down with me.
Now, where did I put that Zoloft....
I bring this out again only to show what could happen if the squad doesn't get their heads out of their collective asses. Consider it a caution against thinking that seven points ahead are enough.