A fitting end to a dismal season for Inter Milan

Posted by Mike Whittaker

Antonio Di Natale celebrates GettyImagesAntonio Di Natale celebrates after putting Udinese into a 3-1 lead against Inter Milan

It's hard to believe that three years ago on Wednesday Inter were ending their 2009/10 season on top of the world by lifting the most prestigious trophy in club football. For the 2012/13 season it seems the Nerazzurri wanted to finish the current season in a similar way, by claiming a result that encompasses everything about the campaign they have just come to the end of.

Unfortunately, unlike 2010, everything has gone wrong for Inter in 2013, and this was summed up completely by the 5-2 thrashing Udinese gave the Nerazzurri in the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza.

- Video: Inter 2-5 Udinese (UK and Ire)

The Bianconeri coach Francesco Guidolin led his team to the 300th victory of his career and secured a fifth place finish for the club, ensuring that Udinese qualified for a Europa League place and finished above Roma, Lazio and of course Inter. The Nerazzurri finally finished in their worst position since 1994 - when they were fighting relegation from an 18 team league.

Finishing in ninth place is bad enough for a team of Inter's stature and history, but to finish with just 54 points after 16 losses, six draws and just 16 wins really shows how far the mighty Nerazzurri have fallen this season. That's not even the worst of the club's final league stats, a forward line that has been lacking firepower due to injuries and lack of accuracy combined with a defensive line that has failed on too many occasions has left Inter with a goal difference for the season of -2.

This negative goal difference is the biggest blow to the club's season, after all this is the team that supposedly has one of the best goalkeepers in the world, and a forward line consisting of top goalscorers like Diego Milito, Rodrigo Palacio and Antonio Cassano. Ok, so admittedly the strikers can't really be held accountable as no one could've predicted that all of them would be injured for so much of the season.

As I've been saying for the past two seasons now, the weakest department in the Inter squad is the defence, and nothing highlights this problem more than the five goals conceded against Udinese. Every single goal scored by the visitors was due to an individual or combined error within the Inter backline. Too many times this season we have seen the Nerazzurri defence part for opposition attackers like the Red Sea parted for Moses. I'm not sure whether this is due to the zonal marking tactic Andrea Stramaccioni makes his team play or just a simple lack of communication between the Inter players.

It took Udinese just 45 seconds to score the first goal in this game and unbelievably in that short amount of time the Inter defence gave the ball away to the opposition twice just outside the area, the second of which was slotted home by Giampiero Pinzi.

The second goal was a prime example of the team's disastrous defending when numerous Inter players were marking the back post for an Udinese freekick, but Maurizio Domizzi still managed to find plenty of space in the same area to head the ball into the net. Quite how he possibly found that much room in an area Inter were obviously concentrating their defence just astounds me.

The biggest mistake came when the Nerazzurri conceded their fifth goal. Where exactly the three centre-backs Juan Jesus, Esteban Cambiasso and Simone Pasa were when Luis Muriel was charging towards goal, I honestly could not tell you, but they definitely weren't where they should've been. The only Inter player anywhere near the attacker was Yuto Nagatomo, who was battling Muriel as they approached the box. What happened next was possibly the worst mistake I have ever witnessed Samir Handanovic make.

What possessed him to rush off his line to the edge of the box is anyone's guess, but when he reached Muriel and Nagatomo, the two Inter players just appeared to have no idea what to do and ended up getting in the way of each other. This left Muriel in the clear, behind both players, having to make just a simple tap-in to complete his club's routing of Inter.

This season, which was meant to improve on last season's terrible performances, is finally over and we can clearly see that the coach who was meant to begin a youth revolution at the club has failed miserably. Even with the unprecedented amount of injuries that befell his squad, Stramaccioni should've easily have achieved a Europa league spot, if not the targeted Champions league qualifying place.

Now he holds the title of Inter's worst season since Massimo Moratti became president in 1995. Despite reports to the contrary, I really cannot see Moratti keeping Stramaccioni in the job. In his time as president he has sacked far better coaches for much less.

Moratti's absence from the stands for the game speaks volumes. Even if it is his daughter's birthday, it is not like the president to miss an Inter match. I am hoping that this really was a sign that he has lost patience with the young coach, and we will see a replacement brought in sooner rather than later to restart the club's project over a summer that promises many changes - from the back room staff, to the players that will take to the pitch when the season starts again.

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