Wednesday December 11 2019
It could've been different for Inter

Ultimately, Inter put themselves in a far more complicated Champions League situation than they needed to, writes Giancarlo Rinaldi.

Antonio Conte is a demanding kind of guy. Even after a three-star Michelin meal, you get the feeling, he would complain if one of the waiter’s ties was a little askew. So, despite his team sitting top of Serie A, it will have caused him major discomfort to go tumbling out of the Champions League. On a night when the Nerazzurri had to be perfect, they were far from it.

It was always likely to be a curious evening at San Siro against Barcelona B who were playing with no pressure at all. Inter, for their part, did not lack for motivation but that sometimes brought an anxiety which saw them spurn some chances they could have taken. In the end, desire and determination were no match for class, quality and one of the game’s most exciting young talents in the shape of Ansu Fati.

In Italy, perhaps, a team with nothing to play for would gift you a result, but at Europe’s top table the attitude is a little different and even an apparent second string can cause you a lot of pain. Barca were able - for much of the match - to hold their opponents at bay like Anthony Joshua dancing around Andy Ruiz Jr. The knockout blow, when it came, felt both painful and merciful in equal measure.

It is only fair to note the absences which punched holes in the line-up their coach would have wished to select - particularly in midfield. Nicolò Barella and Stefano Sensi could have been key contributors on a night where everyone needed to bring their A game if they hoped to progress. Instead, the trundling trams heading back into Milan were left full of fans wondering what might have been.

But this qualification failure was not truly about losing to one of the world’s elite in the final round of matches. Inter compromised their chances earlier when they slipped up at home to Slavia Prague and surrendered leads away to both Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund. A lack of savvy and experience cost them dearly and put them into a win-at-all-costs closing fixture that might well have been avoided.

The clash was not without its bright spots - in particular Lautaro Martinez - but it lacked the clinical element Conte would love to have seen. Romelu Lukaku struck once - with a deflection - but he had other chances which might have given the home side the win they craved. He was not alone in failing to take his opportunities, as Norberto Neto enjoyed his time back in Italy immensely with some good saves. The Champions League demands greater sharpness and a cooler head than most domestic encounters.

These lessons will all assuredly be hammered home by a boss who is about as relentless as a pneumatic drill. He will no doubt try to use this defeat and dropping down into the Europa League as motivation for his troops to push themselves harder and perform better in the weeks to come. If it pays off, it might yet deliver a Scudetto, and that would surely ease the pain for most supporters. For their coach, however, it will no doubt forever feel like a bum note in the symphony he is currently trying to compose.

Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £9.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit:

Have your say...

....And now Inter is ignoring press because one




wrote that Conte plays ugly defensive football
& that he'll never, NEVER, succeed in European competitions (where 95% only attacking play wins!)

Oh dear,
Media you can't publish things like that.
You mustn't disturb northern clubs
--You can only afford to destabilize Roma, Lazio & Napoli.

"Conte inept in CL???"
"Noooo, never..!"

What a small, small man he is.
on the 14th December, 2019 at 8:47pm
...John Smith has a great point about stadiums.

Surely new club-owned stadiums would benefit whole Italy!
Better Serie A clubs = greater World exposure/ more tourists/ more money throughout...
And that CONNECTS people. The Whole country.

Look at Novak Dzokovic, Luka Doncic..!
BEST ambassadors for their nations.
on the 14th December, 2019 at 12:43pm

Media has huge influence & can manipulate masses. (Not only in football!)

Also, some clubs have immense power (huge fan base) so media NEEDS to treat them differently --Even to the point where they try to find excuses for controversal situations or blatantly overlook them.
Media can't afford to anger/ lose such fanbases!
Juve wins 1-0 against TORINO, Roma plays spectacular 2-1 with NAPOLI... yet Corriere d. S. (ROMAN NEWSPAPER!) puts a huge cover photo celebrating Juve win
on the 14th December, 2019 at 12:23pm
@ Scarpetta, your precious team tied 1-1 with a bunch of goulash merchants, blew a 2-0 lead against Dortmund and lost to a Barcelona B-team. Yet, you still feel the need to mention Juventus. Love how my team lives rent free in your heads.
on the 13th December, 2019 at 1:51pm
" Mez. By making that post you obviously did not check out his scoring statistics. Research befor you post, good boy. I will help because you are obviously incapable
on the 12th December, 2019 at 7:00am
still think Conte is doing amazing job with Inter.yet failing the way they did AGAIN in CL is cringey bad.specially when the other black and blue team thats playing in San Siro is ironic ! unable to beat a Barca B team with nothing to play for @ home is sad.Candreva really should have been on field.dump Politano,hes total garbage.take Naing'back.hopefully they make some good moves in 2020,they really could go far.
on the 12th December, 2019 at 5:38am
The real Rosoblu is not Inter, actually Atalanta e
on the 12th December, 2019 at 3:09am
The Real Rosoblue is Atalanta n not Inter
on the 12th December, 2019 at 3:06am
Nainggolan says CIAO BEPPE!
on the 11th December, 2019 at 10:12pm
The headline here must be the corrupt politicians who force the clubs to rent run-down stadiums. If the majors in Rome and Milano would let the clubs build new stadiums they would have an extra 40-50 mill more per year like Juventus. Then they could afford creative fast players and avoid losing out to the likes of a Barcelona b-team. One day this might all change ... in the next century perhaps.
So Napoli, Roma and Lazio should build a 50.000 seater stadium.
Milan and Inter and 60.000 seater.
on the 11th December, 2019 at 6:19pm
very disappointing. They should have done better. Another not so good season for Serie A in the CL. Inter need to do better. Again, next season they will be in a tough group as their ranking remains low.
The draw at home to Prague was a bad start but losing a two goal lead to Dortmund was just PAZZA INTER.
on the 11th December, 2019 at 6:09pm
@Anonymous - Are you a comedian? AC wanted him and because of his goal scoring stats?? Go back to sleep!!
on the 11th December, 2019 at 4:20pm
When you see what Nainggolan is doing at Cagliari it makes you wonder why he was forced out, on the field at least he seems the perfect Conte type player, full of running, aggression and quality. I do see this as a slight blessing in disguise as having looked at the teams in EL only Arsenal, Sevilla, and Man United look like any sort of threat to Inter if they take the comp seriously. Inter win EL and Juve go deep in the CL would be good for Serie A
on the 11th December, 2019 at 4:01pm
Inter out, very good, now it is time for the establishment media to find excuses, and lament by blaming everything, and everyone, but holly "Conte" one of the untouchables in Italy, no one asks why Italian clubs perform abysmally n Europe in the last 20 years?
The media always decide who is good, who is bad, who's untouchable, the refereeing make sure Robentus always wins, if not it would be Inter, and it is Italian Football who pays for it as always in the end.
on the 11th December, 2019 at 2:41pm
Nainngolan. I never have any sympathy for Handanovic and Brozovic when they lose as I think they are both snakes but that aside Conte needs to get away from 3 at the back sometimes especially if you have to win. Not a fan of Candreva's but he should have started instead of D'ambrosio if Conte was going to insist on that system while Biraghi is a player I don't see any quality in. As for Borja Valero surely there is a ball boy with more pace and usefulness. Martinez was immense but Lukaku oh dear
on the 11th December, 2019 at 2:09pm
I'm not having lack of squad depth excuse as if the el clasico was played tomorrow and all their players fit only Lenglet and Griezmann would start for Barca. Rakitic, Umtiti and Vidal would be on the bench while most of the rest would not make the squad. Yet they still had more possession than Inter. Why play with 5 defenders in a game you had to win? What did Inter need Godin, Skriniar and De Vrij on the field for? Yes Barella and Sensi were huge misses but Inter discarded Icardi, Perisic and
on the 11th December, 2019 at 2:05pm
@ Marco They would have bought better players and not sold their promising youth only they had to comply with corrupt Platini's Orwellian FFP. So this is the result. Give them a few years now that they are free of FFP and judge them then.
on the 11th December, 2019 at 1:23pm
@ Mez - to answer your question - they bought him because AC wanted him and because of his goal scoring stats. look them up before commenting. good boy.
on the 11th December, 2019 at 1:06pm
One word to describe inter >> TRASH
on the 11th December, 2019 at 12:49pm
We missed the CL money! Anyway we can now have a closer look at europa league. Lukaku.. Love you man, grow on your path and be a tiger cub of drogba....
on the 11th December, 2019 at 12:35pm
After winning the first champions league of the decade, Inter have then gone on to embarrass themselves in the competition the rest of the decade!
on the 11th December, 2019 at 11:39am
I know we should not single out players when the team loses, but must make an excpetion in this case. Lukaku must be the most unintelligent striker in the modern game today. He is the Belgian Heskey. He sucks in 1-on-1 situations. As a target man, he has no idea how to use his strength to hold the ball up, run into space or even evade his marker. What posessed Inter to buy him, I'll never know. He was bad a Mant Utd and I thought that was becasue of lack of service. NO!!!he is JUST BAD!!
on the 11th December, 2019 at 10:12am
This team is an big improvement on last year's team but there is work to do, in the transfer market and in training, as well as game management because that is where we lost it in Europe. Exciting though it is to see high press tactics, it takes a lot of stamina especially without passing quality through the team, like Xavi, Ineista and Busquets with Messi, Alves and Alba in support, and finishing the chances created. Conte's Inter Y2 or Y3 can mount a serious UCL challenge when it's ready.
on the 11th December, 2019 at 9:49am
352 is not working in Europe or at least u should have an alternative formation.
on the 11th December, 2019 at 9:40am
This season has always been about getting more points in the league. Only the very naive would expect Inter to go past the last 16 in any case. Massive progress is being made both economically and on the park. Lets enjoy the journey....and next year will be very different as Inter will be able to compete in all competitions.
on the 11th December, 2019 at 8:59am
Conte's European Curse goes on ...
on the 11th December, 2019 at 8:45am
Conte doing what Conte does best which is to fail in Europe.
on the 11th December, 2019 at 8:42am
Lukaku was just too wasteful,that's about it.He's proven from the start of the season that he's not clinical enough, he's not good enough with his head and jumps, he seems to misuse his body and strength (unlike Adriano who he is being compared to)..he has his qualities, don't get me wrong, but he has been underwhelming..
on the 11th December, 2019 at 2:52am
Inter should be proud and has come along way... as the other poster noted, Inter lack depth and this can and probably will be addressed in the coming months as Inter will try to shore up the Scudetto lead and compete for next year's CL..
on the 11th December, 2019 at 2:35am
The lack of squad depth also means the same players are playing every single game and so they are bound to be a bit tired towards the end of a match, which is when opposition teams are taking advantage.
Kinda feel like we really should have kept Perisic and Nainggolan but let's hope we can bring in reinforcements in January without offering up deals on our best young talent in the process.
on the 11th December, 2019 at 1:50am

Post new comment

Your email address is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
If you have your own website, enter its address here.
Maximum 500 characters.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.
Your responses will be moderated, and sometimes edited, by Football Italia before appearing on the site. Your data may be made public and you accept our Privacy Policy. Please keep your comments clean and try to keep them relevant to the blog above. We reserve the right to reject views that we deem unsuitable for publication.