Claudio Ranieri feels Inter’s exit to Olympique Marseille “sums up our season, but the lads could not have given any more.”
A 2-1 win on the night was not enough, as Marseille went through on away goals. This is the first time since 2008-09 that the Nerazzurri haven’t reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
“It sums up our season. Perhaps we played better in both legs, but conceded twice in stoppages despite having the best chances,” said Ranieri.
“I think in 180 minutes we allowed three shots on target, but the team that scores goals is the one that wins, so compliments to Marseille.
“We couldn’t have done any more. We were tight in the first 20 minutes, then stretched out a bit and didn’t have the chance to play for our strikers. In the second half I asked Wesley Sneijder to play in more of a midfield role to be the supplier, then he picked up an injury.
“It’s a shame, as the lads gave all they possibly could. We have to find the motivation now, as even if we go out, the team proved it gave 100 per cent and we’ll see what we can do in Serie A.
“We knew Marseille would push down our left flank, as that is where they go with 70 per cent of their attacking moves, but then we failed to give Diego Milito or Diego Forlan the chance to surge forward. I had to introduce Joel Obi, who did well to defend and attack, making us a little more compact and incisive.”
In each of their last eight games, Inter have failed to score in the first half. Milito thought he had done enough to force extra time, but Brandao scored a decisive away goal in stoppages.
“There was a little drop in concentration levels in injury time. When a season goes this badly, there is a bit of everything in the soup of causes. This two-legged affair summed up the entire campaign.
“The Coach always takes the blame and we are paid for that, so it’s fair enough. I have to admit we could not have done any more, partly because of that bit of luck that this season just won’t come to Inter.
“I hoped the Chievo game would be a good sign that we’d get another late goal, but it didn’t happen. I think we did not deserve to be eliminated and over the 180 minutes we played better, but that’s football.”
Ranieri caused some controversy by fielding the same starting XI that beat Chievo on Friday, giving Andrea Poli his Champions League debut in place of Esteban Cambiasso.
“At the moment Poli is giving me more guarantees pushing forward and knowing Marseille would push down the left, I decided he was the best man for the job. Of course Cambiasso has great experience and is a star player who can be of great use.
“Inter do not need a revolution. Maybe reconstruction, which we already knew before this game. I had hoped that something would change for us with the Chievo win, but this continues to be a rollercoaster of a campaign, full of ups and downs. The fact remains the lads could not have done any more.”
It is the second time that Didier Deschamps has been disastrous for Ranieri, as his Monaco eliminated Chelsea from the Champions League.
“Deschamps brings me bad luck? Well, evidently he has that effect on me!”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £11,000 to be won monthly!