Crisis deepens with home defeat to Bologna

Posted by Mike Whittaker

Oliver Morin/Getty ImagesBologna players celebrate the Alberto Gilardino goal in the 57th minute that ended Inter's 16-match home unbeaten streak.

"I'm a bit angry about the defeat to Tottenham but we must move on from this. We need to look forward to what's coming up and that begins with tonight's match." So spoke Inter president Massimo Moratti Sunday as he entered the Giuseppe Meazza.

What the Nerazzurri supremo didn't realise was he was about to witness his team throw away their 16-game home unbeaten run in another disappointing performance that ended with a 1-0 loss to Bologna.

-- Match report: Inter Milan 0-1 Bologna

On a night that included some important landmarks for individual players, perhaps naively I expected a point-proving performance from the Inter team that fell to such a devastating defeat in the midweek Europa League game. So what was so special about this game? After all it was just a game -- against 15th-place Bologna!

The match should have seen the Nerazzurri mark their 105th anniversary with a dominant win against a lesser opponent as three Inter players reached career landmarks.

First, Juan Pablo Carrizo made his debut in the Nerazzurri goal as Samir Handanovic was out, suspended for card accumulation. The Argentine goalkeeper did well by all accounts, even though he failed to keep a clean sheet.

Antonio Cassano came on for the second half and marked his 400th professional game across all club competitions. But the big event of the day went to 'Captain Incredible' himself as Javier Zanetti hit another major achievement in his legendary career by playing his 600th Serie A game. There just aren't the words to describe Zanetti's career, and even at 39 he is showing no signs of hanging up his boots just yet. In this milestone game, he was one of Inter's hardest-working and best-performing players on the pitch.

Despite all these reasons to celebrate it quickly became apparent that nothing had changed from the dismal run of form the team have been experiencing lately, and within minutes of kickoff Bologna took control. Three minutes into the match and the visitors had already had two fantastic chances on Carrizo's goal.

The first-half disorganisation that has been apparent for at least the last four or five Inter games was still evident, and if anything the squad was looking even more undisciplined and ineffective than we've seen previously. Against Bologna they couldn't even hold the shape of their 4-2-3-1 formation with the players on the pitch looking like they were playing 4-4-1-1.

Thirty minutes into the game, and Inter hadn't even managed to get the ball within 25 yards of the Bologna goal, let alone make any sort of chance to score. By the end of the first half it was still 0-0, but only because Bologna were unable to capitalise on their chances; otherwise it could've easily have been game over for Inter with Bologna several goals ahead.

Once again the second half was much better, with end-to-end play and many more chances on goal for Inter, but still their performance was nowhere near the standard you would expect from a club of Inter's stature.

The Ultras in the stands, myself and probably every Inter fan in the world, are losing patience with these below-par performances being shown by the players. Half of them have yet to prove they are of the standard expected, and even more worryingly very few show any passion or desire to return the club to winning ways. It won't be long before the Curva Nord Ultras start to really voice their discontent with the attitudes of the players, and the dreadful performances in general.

Already the frustration is starting to show with a banner being displayed in this match that asked for the management to "Let us have a tryout, hopefully you will find a good player, and at least we are Interisti!" The message the Ultras don't believe the current crop of players have the ability nor the passion to play for Inter is plain for all to see. This is something I didn't want to believe, but I have to say that, unfortunately, the players themselves are convincing me it's true.

I do, however, still hold Andrea Stramaccioni equally responsible. As I've said previously, there doesn't appear to be any discipline or philosophy to Inter's play recently, and in the last couple of games especially, not one section of the outfield formation has performed well. The defending has been dire with terrible marking, the passing has been awful, communication and having the vision to know what their teammates are going to do is completely non-existent, and the lack of creativity and finishing just leaves me speechless.

Yes, you can argue that all these things are player faults, not the coach's, but these are all things that should be perfected during training under the guidance of Stramaccioni. Just what the squad is being trained in is beyond me. It seems over the course of the season the team's ability is deteriorating week on week -- even the games Inter have won haven't been of a satisfactory standard in 2013.

The depth of Inter's troubles are plainly obvious when you consider that against Bologna the most dangerous attacking Inter player was Andrea Ranocchia -- the centre back!

I don't have the answers to how Inter can solve their problems, but it would be fair to say that they've been very lucky so far, and a certain few Nerazzurri players are solely responsible for carrying the rest of the team through this season.

In fact, the only reason they are still fighting for a top-three finish is because of the failings of the other teams in the top half of the table. In truth, if they had all played in their top form, Inter would now be in the bottom half of the table. Maybe the only way to save this fallen giant is to reorganise the whole club structure from the management down.

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