Forget the Coppa Italia; forget the squabbles, that for Inter is in the past. For Antonio Conte the next few weeks are critical, firstly for his Scudetto hopes and secondly for the safety of his job.
The next two Sunday’s could very bloody, as the fixtures have a make or break feel to them. First, it is Lazio, who one can never underestimated, before the Derby Della Madonnina offers up an early Scudetto show down.
There have been positives and negatives in recent weeks, but the coach will need his team to fire on all cylinders if he is to confirm his future in Milan.
The problem with Inter, is that even when they are good, they are only one game away from a crisis.
Exit from the Champions League this season was met with huge disappointment but it was soon glossed over and perhaps rightly so. After all, Conte was the master of domestic success and the Coppa Italia and Scudetto seemed like very acceptable targets.
The loss in the semi-final of the Coppa Italia was a bitter pill to swallow. Firstly, it was against Juventus and secondly, because it had come from mistakes and the fact that once again they were not clinical up front.
Surely though, this should not derail ‘project Inter’, even if Conte was creating headlines after arguing with Andrea Angelli, they are still second in the table, two points off Milan and they have to play each other. So why the issue?
This relates to the ownership problem, this throws everything in the air, win or bust. The Suning Group are still looking at options when it comes to the possible sale of Inter. The Chinese government’s decision on where the conglomerate can invest has meant they have had to enter conversations with potential suitors for the club.
BC Partners are still in conversation with them, but they are also listening in a potential investment from American group, Fortress. Il Giorno report that there are four other groups interested but these discussions need to move quickly.
This is because Suning need approximately €200m between now and the end of the campaign to finance the expense of Inter. This may have to be a loan from somewhere as the aforementioned Chinese government, have restricted foreign investment.
Imagine this scenario, Inter lose to Lazio and Milan and ultimately throw away any chance of realistically winning the Scudetto. It is hypothetical that is true but it still stands true.
Conte would be under an immense amount of pressure as he is a divisive character at best. What do Suning do? Do they sack him? Perhaps they would in normal circumstances but the lack of investment (if the ownership issue is not resolved) makes that very difficult.
Inter let us not forget, are still paying Luciano Spalletti €4m a year to sit at home. He may not be able to move to another club but luck Luciano will not mind. Luckily for the Nerazzurri, his contract expires this coming June.
Evidently, the perfect scenario for Inter is to get the investment needed and to finally win the Scudetto as then the hiring of Conte would seemingly be justified.
They will have to cut out the individual errors and become more clinical in front of goal in big games. Yes, they are the leaders to scorers, but they still miss so many chances.
This is why with Inter, the future looks so uncertain right now, it feels like, a Scudetto win could even attract investment from an outside partner but there are so many permutations between now and the end of the campaign.
Even if they get a company to come and stabilise the club, Conte not winning Serie A will be seen as a failure. After all, he was the man who wanted to be backed in the summer; he always knew he would fall on his sword.
If this summary was about other clubs it could be accused of being dramatic, however, this is Inter and for them it is just another day.
They live life like a stunt pilot, hurtling to the ground not sure if they can pull up, when they do, the crowd are amazed but it always feels like an inevitable crash is due. One thing is for sure, if Inter can deliver two wins against Lazio and Milan, the crowd will certainly applaud the pilot.