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Hot seat: Inter Milan manager Luciano Spalletti?

Is the Nerazzurri boss in danger? Should he be?

Torino FC v FC Internazionale - Serie A Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

After a successful first campaign by Luciano Spalletti and Inter Milan, fans are starting to become restless. All of last season, Inter Milan’s media was sending out tweets saying #InterIsComing.

Many were ready for them to go back to their old dominant ways. The fans could taste it. They were coming and when the Nerazzurri defeated Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico 3-2 #InterIsHere was the first thing most thought.

FC Internazionale v US Sassuolo - Serie A
FC Internazionale coach Luciano Spalletti looks on during the Serie A match between FC Internazionale and US Sassuolo at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on January 19, 2019 in Milan, Italy.
Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

This season has been bittersweet in many ways. Inter sit in 3rd place, five points ahead of their crosstown rivals and eight points behind Napoli. More wanted them to push Napoli and after the start to the 2nd half of the season, that looks bleak. Inter went 12-3-4 in the first half earning 39 points in 19 games. Napoli were only five points ahead with a 14-2-3 record.

The part that disappoints Inter fans the most is they saw an opportunity. Inter opened the 2nd half home to Sassuolo and away to Torino.

Neither are easy games but if we are being honest, Inter should easily get four, if not six, points from those two games. They walked away with one. Napoli, meanwhile, opened with a home game vs Lazio and away to Milan. Two tough fixtures that they would be happy with four but probably expected 2-4 from it. Points are at a premium in this season and it seems Inter are hitting a wall.

Now onto the subject that really matters. Who is to blame?

Is Spalletti getting the most of his players or are the players the problem?

After the Champions League disappointment against PSV Eindhoven, it seemed as though Inter over performed and water found its level. Beating Tottenham Hotspur at the San Siro while being outplayed for 80 minutes was an awesome result.

Probably undeserved but that is how football works sometimes. Teams have to play 90 minutes and Inter punished Tottenham for it. All Inter had to do come the final game of the group was better Tottenham’s result. Tottenham was at Barcelona while Inter was home to PSV. Both teams drew and Tottenham were on to the knockouts while Inter were sent packing for the Europa League.

Coming into the group stage Inter were the third-best team and finished at that. Many Inter fans did not expect to get through at first but once the results were falling the could taste it.

Spalletti and Inter exceeded expectations and made the fans believe. All the hope was built up and it came crashing down on Match day six. That loss stung the Nerazzurri and definitely made some people question Spalletti.

The recent results have not helped his cause after the break. Drawing to Sassuolo in front of an empty stadium and then looking as bad as the team did away to Torino was not how he drew it up.

One would expect after a break that some players are more rested and ready to go. They came out flat and were outplayed in the Torino match. It was as if the team didn’t want to play that day. At some point the manager has to be held responsible and that loss was on Spalletti.

Italian Football Federation ‘Panchina D’Oro’ Prize
Is Antonio Conte the answer for Inter Milan if Spalletti is pushed out?
Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

Antonio Conte and Jose Mourinho lurk in the shadows with many newspapers such as Football Italia suggesting that Inter are reaching out.

There is always the never ending rumour of Diego Simeone coming to Inter as well. Spalletti needs to have his team ready to go if he wants to keep his job. His contract ends this summer and he is coaching for his job.

One or two more results might force Inter management to take action early. The Nerazzurri can not risk losing top three and coming in fourth to Milan would be a massive failure. Yes, Inter would still qualify for UCL with fourth, but the Nerazzurri are a far better team than Milan.

Ivan Perisic has requested a transfer after saying he had a vote of confidence from the manager in August.

What has changed since then?

Perisic has had a down year but Spalletti continues to trot him out there in his XI. Is that a player issue or does Spalletti not have control of the locker room?

Inter teams of recent years have been known to have fragile mentalities. This team looked different but right now it looks to be more of the same.

Luciano doesn’t have much time left and he is going to have to turn it around fast. It is not time to panic but it is time to start taking a hard look at other options.

Take a listen to our new podcast: Serpents of Inter

What do you think? Post your comments below?