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Inter 2 - Torino 2

The theme of today’s remarks is disappointment. It was a predictable disappointment from this summer, but a disappointment all the same. Inter fail to take advantage of several teams dropping points on Sunday as they draw at home to a Torino that obviously came to play without a lot of fear.

Claudio Villa

And frankly, I can’t blame them for not being afraid. Inter didn’t have much punch up top to keep the defense honest and there wasn’t a lot of imagination on display in the midfield to threaten at that level either. It looked like a workmanlike lineup from the get-go and if Fredy Guarin doesn’t completely lose his mind at the top of the penalty area it might have been just enough to squeak by with all three points. But he did, and the energy that he gave to the Bulls was enough to carry them through with the point.

Reading the hot sheets, I can already see the criticism being leveled at the coach, and I can’t say that I am not up there with them. Gabi isn’t a player that I would often start – and to his credit, Strama doesn’t often play him from the get go – but he does presumably, have his uses. I am not sure that this game was the right time for his unique blend of toughness and poor technique. I am not in the habit of being happy at injuries, but it looks like Gabi is out for the rest of the season and I think that the team will be better for his absence.

Continuing on the disappointment theme, I have to say that I wasn’t sad that Cambiasso didn’t start – older players need to be rested and this game was a chance for that. But as in the Pescara game, I would have preferred another, more useful player. Benassi or Livaja – who is also supposed to be able to play in the midfield - come to mind.

Gargano is another player who can’t leave quickly enough for me. I get bringing in Gabi as veteran insurance and using him sparingly. I am not thrilled with it, but I get it – he’s cheap as hell and there’s no conflict of playing time. I don’t understand using Gargano so much or using him in the middle all the time. Put Cambiasso, Livaja, Ricky or Benassi in the middle and use Gargano and Zanetti off to the sides to protect that position. But the whole super defensive middle thing with no creativity is proving itself to be not very efficient. We have to work twice as hard for goals when we can only batter our way forward through brute strength. We sure as hell shouldn’t be so protective at home.

The last disappointment has to be reserved for the overall attitude of the team when they went a goal up, This isn’t the lockdown team of 2006 that set records for fewest goals allowed. I haven’t looked this up, but I am going to bet that we have conceded more often than we have kept a clean sheet. It didn’t look like the team woke up until they were already 1-2 in the second half.

There isn’t much more to say about this game. I think that eventually Strama made the correct moves in bringing in Cuchu and Ricky. The formation switch was more or less thrust on him. As I said, putting Gabi out there from the outset was something I wouldn’t have done. To be honest, I would be putting Benassi out there as much as possible, only saving his confidence for Juventus or Milan or Napoli or something like that. The kid has shown that he’s already got more than Serie B talent. I would have chanced him against Torino. Actually, had Duncan not already been loaned out, I would have put him out there too.

Moving on now, to the transfer window and yet more disappointment. I want to be clear here, I am not disappointed at the sales. I think that for the most part, it was addition through subtraction to use an NFL cliche. I had a lot of hope for Sneijder to take on a leadership role on and off the field and be the superstar that helps carry the team. But that never happened. He was injured often and his twitter updates were at times at odds with the club showing a disconnection. And of course there is the renewal problem that I blame both sides for.

As for Coutinho, assuming the transfer goes through, the club will reportedly get a small fortune for him. Also, I don’t think that the club had seen the improvement that they were hoping for. Is he very young to be expecting a whole lot from him? Yes. Is he likely to get better? Yes, I think so at least. Is he ever going to be worth the 11-ish mil cash plus several mil in bonuses again? Frankly, I am not sure that he’s worth that now let alone believing that one day he will be worth that. Plus, his departure makes the AM spot less messy. There are much fewer candidates for this role as of right now assuming the team even chooses to use a formation that employs it.

In my meaningless opinion, I think that the team, assuming they use the money that they have gotten from the sales of the two midfielders this market, need 3 positions: center back, a deep playmaker in the midfield, and a striker who can handle the job up top on his own. These are what I would consider the most important problems of the team at this moment. Keeping in mind that there just isn’t much on the market at this time, I could have foreseen some issues in getting anyone. But the club isn’t going to overreach to get anyone. It could very well be that the club won’t buy anyone but the few Primavera guys already bagged plus the bargain basement deal of Rocchi on a free.

The team isn’t a player or two away from a cup. The remaking of this team is a continuum that will last longer than the next summer transfer window. There are several more contract renewals/rescinding to enact and more replacements to find. Plus not every signing is going to work out. It’s a disappointing procedure right now, but I was kind of already braced for it back in September.

Moratti's interview from

MILAN - The journalists' questions for Massimo Moratti were about one subject only today: the transfer market. This is what the president said to reporters as he arrived at his office in the centre of Milan:

President Moratti, is there any news from Brazil about Paulinho?

"No, none whatsoever."

But are you confident the deal can be done?

"Deals get done if the right conditions are there to complete them. As things stand, at the conditions I was made aware of, the deal might have been possible, but if those conditions change then no."

Considering Inter's plans to rejuvenate the team, isn't it perhaps a bit early to be selling Coutinho?

"Yes, but things get done for a reason and selling Coutinho is not done with the idea of cashing in but because, looking at the way things have developed recently, we have a greater need in different areas than Coutinho's position, regardless of his age."

Will you be looking to bring in another midfielder now that Mudingayi is injured?

"Look, the only thing you can do is say 'poor Mudingayi, he's such a lovely lad and he's been so unlucky'; not replace him. That's what I think."