Luciano Spalletti complained Inter “lost balance immediately and made naïve mistakes” to allow an early Eintracht Frankfurt goal that effectively ended the tie.
The 0-0 draw from the first leg, where Marcelo Brozovic missed a penalty, meant a score draw here would send the Germans through.
So when Luka Jovic scored within six minutes at San Siro, a decimated Inter team never looked like turning it around and crashed out of the Europa League
“We lacked a bit of everything. We lost balance immediately and made some naïve mistakes for the opener, then got irritable and lost even more balance. It became a very difficult game,” he told Sky Sport Italia.
“If you don’t clear your lines first, or make rough passes, everything becomes an open ball to challenge for. If you treat it with more quality, it’s within your control.
“We just couldn’t keep the ball. I chose Keita and he hadn’t played for a while, so was lacking match fitness and that determination you need. I took that risk.
“Even when moving the ball between spaces, we never created anything of note. The early goal just cranked up the tension and made us feel as if there was no chance. We lost it straight away.”
Inter had only 12 senior outfield players available and ended the match with a 16-year-old and 18-year-old on the pitch.
“It was tough above all for the way it started. When trying to recover from a situation like that, players instead of trying to give their contribution to the team, try to go and sort it out themselves, so create even more chaos. When just running forward, gaps are left and we almost never found the right distances between the various roles.
“There are high expectations, we want to be a winning team straight away, but there’s very little chance of that. What we have to do is try to bring home some important results via balance, but we lost our balance immediately.
“The 0-0 from the first leg allowed us to reach the final 15 minutes and see what happens. We had plenty of time to deal with the situation intelligently. Instead, we were immediately frenetic and chaotic, trying to force the ball through with individual moves rather than as a team.
“People said the 0-0 from the first leg was a bad result, but I didn’t see that at all. We had the chance to control the game and give it our best, with patience. But we didn’t do that.”
Inter now have to go into Sunday’s Milan Derby in a head-to-head for third place in Serie A, as their Champions League status is also now in doubt.
“We certainly need to do better than we did tonight. We need more confidence. We’ll look back over this match and recognise we didn’t read it the right way.”