Thursday, May 28, 2020 | ePaper

Inter Milan struggling as mid-season slump returns

  • Print
AFP, Milan :
Inter Milan's mid-season slump has become something of a tradition, and the tradition is back again this year.
Since 2013, Inter has only once managed to win more than one league match in January. And this year's poor run is putting Champions League qualification in doubt and piling pressure on coach Luciano Spalletti.
Inter CEO Giuseppe Marotta met with Spalletti following Inter's 1-0 loss to relegation-threatened Bologna on Sunday - the team's third straight defeat. Marotta, however, played down the significance of the talks ahead of Saturday's match against Parma.
"This is something we normally do after every match, irrespective of the result," Marotta said. "We recognize that we're going through a difficult spell, something which creates disappointment and unease, especially for our supporters. But Spalletti's position is very secure.
"The match against Parma is absolutely not decisive, you can't talk about a coach at risk. I've never fired a coach. Spalletti will stay with us because there is nothing to make us think about firing him. He has a contract until 2021."
Despite those strong words of support, there is speculation that Antonio Conte could soon be taking over. The former Chelsea manager was recently spotted outside Inter's headquarters.
Last year's slump cost Inter the title. By the time the team ended a two-month winless streak, Inter had slipped from first to third.
This time, Inter had been comfortably heading toward a Champions League spot, but that doesn't look quite so certain anymore.
The top four teams in Serie A qualify for Europe's top club competition. Although Inter is still in third place, the team is four points ahead of AC Milan and only five ahead of Atalanta, Roma and Lazio.
One of the main problems for Inter has been a lack of goals. The team has failed to score in its last three league matches and the club's top scorer, captain Mauro Icardi, has not scored in Serie A since Dec. 15 - a run of six matches.
"He's a good lad and always gives his all," Marotta said of Icardi. "He's obviously young, so it's normal that there is room for improvement there. It doesn't seem right to put the blame on him.
"When there are these crisis situations, if you want to talk about blame, everyone has to take their share of the responsibility."
Ivan Perisic and Radja Nainggolan might well be two more reasons why Inter has struggled.
Perisic had asked to leave Inter during the January transfer window but a potential loan move to Arsenal fell through. The Croatia international forward was jeered when he returned to the starting lineup over the weekend after an absence of two matches.
Nainggolan started against Bologna for the first time since Dec. 22. The Belgian has struggled since joining from Roma in the offseason in a deal which valued him at 38 million euros ($44.3 million).
The 30-year-old Nainggolan, who has had injury problems, has scored only three goals for Inter, with the last one coming on Nov. 3. Since then, he has not even provided an assist.
"Nainggolan has had some difficulties settling in, and this has been accompanied by performances that are not in keeping with what he had shown before," Marotta said. "Nevertheless, the player is the first to be aware of such a situation. He knows that he can and has to do more, and our staff are working to help him recover from his previous injuries."
Getting some more wins might help, too.

More News For this Category

China`s Wang Qiang enjoying time without professional tennis

China`s Wang Qiang enjoying time without professional tennis

Agency :Chinese tennis player Wang Qiang, world No.29 in women's singles, told media on Thursday that she is enjoying the days without professional tennis."To be honest, I feel quite

Drive to succeed: The endless golf dominance of South Korea's women

Drive to succeed: The endless golf dominance of South Korea's women

AFP :When South Korea's domestic women's golf tour held its premier event last week-without spectators because of the coronavirus pandemic-no fewer than three of the world's top 10 players

Barca midfielder De Jong 'not ready to play yet'

Barca midfielder De Jong 'not ready to play yet'

Agency :Dutch international Frenkie de Jong said Thursday he was glad to resume training with Barcelona but is "not ready to play a game yet" after a two-month stoppage

Sri Lanka scraps $40mn cricket stadium on advice of top players

Sri Lanka scraps $40mn cricket stadium on advice of top players

AFP :Sri Lanka's prime minister Thursday scrapped plans for a $40 million cricket stadium after local legends of the game warned it would end up a white elephant.Former captains

Olympics official see 'real problems' in holding Games in 2021

Olympics official see 'real problems' in holding Games in 2021

AFP, Sydney  :A senior Olympics official has warned that holding the postponed Tokyo Games next year faces "real problems", with even a vaccine unlikely to stave off the threat

Surgical material removed from knee of Atletico's Vrsaljko

World Cup finalist and Atletico Madrid defender Sime Vrsaljko went under the knife to remove surgical material left there in a previous operation, the Spanish club said Thursday.The 28-year-old

German women's league to resume May 29

The German women's championship will resume behind closed doors on May 29, the country's football federation (DFB) announced Wednesday, after a suspension of almost three months due to the

Belgium coach Martinez extends contract until 2022

Roberto Martinez has extended his contract as Belgium coach until 2022 to take him up to the World Cup in Qatar, the Belgian football federation announced Wednesday. The 46-year-old former

Williams sisters stretch it out with yoga treat for fans

Williams sisters stretch it out with yoga treat for fans

Serena Williams is looking forward to getting back to competing when the coronavirus pandemic permits it, in part because she's "feeling better than ever".Her older sister, Venus, is looking forward

Mushfiqur stands by wheel chair cricketers

Mushfiqur stands by wheel chair cricketers

Bangladesh wicket-keeper batsman Mushfiqur Rahim provided financial support to 50 wheel chair cricketers."Mushfiqur 'bhai' provided financial help to those who played international matches and represented national team," Captain of the