Thursday April 30 2015
Europe back on the menu for Inter

Following two successive wins in the space of three days, Inter find themselves back in contention for a spot in Europe next season. ‘Could they pull it off?’ asks Varun Mathure.

“At times we don’t think. I have good players but we need to stay concentrated at all times. Using your brain is fundamental.” It is not often you hear such comments from a winning manager, but Roberto Mancini was left frustrated as his side limped over the line against a nine-man Udinese.

The victory brought the Nerazzurri within a point of sixth-place Fiorentina who lost to Juventus the following evening. La Viola will be forgiven for having their attentions focused on other matters as they find themselves in the semi-finals of the Europa League.

Thanks to results going their way of late, Inter now could realistically aim to finish in a European spot and secure qualification to next year’s Europa League. However, they will need a slice of luck and some good fortune going by Tuesday’s performance against the Fruilani.

The defence, which has been chastised time and again, was shown up once more, and it has to be a priority area to address when the summer comes rolling in. It will be Mission Impossible for Mancini to get his team to deliver consistent results if they continue to be so unsteady at the back.

On a more positive note, the team’s attack has certainly looked better with players like Hernanes and Mateo Kovacic getting back into form. The Croatian’s future has been under a fair bit of speculation, but he is once again showing the talent that made him so widely coveted around Europe last summer. If he can keep delivering at this level game in and game out, Mancini will have to play him all the time.

Inter’s last five fixtures are as follows – Chievo [home], Lazio [away], Juventus [home], Genoa [away] and Empoli [home]. Given the team’s performances this season, one just cannot begin to speculate on how they will do in the coming matches. But, if they can get to the 60-point mark not only would it match last season’s haul, but will likely get them fifth or sixth place.

The two teams closest to the Nerazzurri right now are Sampdoria and Fiorentina. As mentioned earlier, la Viola are likely to concentrate more on the Europa League, as they could potentially nab a Champions League spot if they were to win it. While, the Blucerchiati have a run-in similar to Inter’s with tough games against Juventus, Lazio and Udinese to come.

Mancini said before the Udinese game that Europe was out of the team’s hands, and as things stand that still very much rings true. Given the way qualification for UEFA’s competitions works for next year, the only way of getting an assured spot in the Europa League will be by finishing fifth in the table. But, there is an argument to be made on whether the club would be better off without having to compete on Thursdays.

There is a good chance that Inter move quite a few players over the summer once more, and try to build a team more suited for Mancini’s needs. Thursday night football has never really suited clubs trying to compete for a top three spot, particularly as it often means long trips across and Europe back culminating on a Friday afternoon.

In fact, barring Chelsea’s victory in 2013 – when they dropped down from the Champions League, no winner of the Europa League from Spain, England, Germany or Italy has managed to secure a top three domestic finish since Sevilla back in 2006-07. This just goes to show how difficult it is to do well in the top leagues and be successful in the Europe’s secondary competition.

On the flipside, European football would bring with it some revenue and the potential for more gate receipts with the higher number of games. Regardless, for this debate to become meaningful, as Mancini said, Inter’s players will need to start using their brains on the pitch.

Have your say...
You cannot wait for Real to show Juve that American football anti football does not work?

Do you remember the game in Barcelona in the year you so proudly brag about? remember Parking the entire city of Milan in front of your goal? others park buses, you had a whole city sitting there.. and that was the year you can't stop yapping about..
on the 3rd May, 2015 at 5:25am
Calciopoli was not just black and white. A third of Serie was at it and the ONLY team to get a way with it was Inter thanks to statute of limitation. Hats off to them for getting the treble but they have squandered their success. They should have been like Barcelona or Bayern but instead they have wasted millions on mediocrity.
on the 2nd May, 2015 at 1:26pm
buventini crack me up. Everyone who followed calcio was well aware prior to 2006 that Moggi was cheating, and when they finally and rightfully get caught they pretend to be victims. Moggi was convicted in a criminal court in Naples and yet deluded juve fans still defend him. Remember the words of juve's lawyer Zaccone that juve deserved Serie C? buve fans, you can have your 300 scudetti but in terms of CL you are behind BOTH Milano clubs. Oh wait, juve lost more finals, so they are better losers
on the 2nd May, 2015 at 11:57am
Oh yes Juve cheating was a conspiracy just like Torino's conspiracy to make Juventus fans threw a bomb................until the proof found that it was Rube fans. I cannot wait for Real to show Rube that american football anti football does not work.
on the 2nd May, 2015 at 10:46am
Did anybody really expect Mancini to bring Inter back to the top? My prediction for next season is as gloomy as this season. I doubt Mancini will be able to bring any kind of stability especially if the team gets revamped all over again. The only bright spot for Inter is Zanetti and he will have his hands full if he is to bring Inter anywhere close to the likes of Napoli and Fiorentina. Even Sampdoria is a better team right now, and i have a feeling Sampdoria would do better in Europa league.
on the 1st May, 2015 at 8:21pm
5 Scudetti? are you talking the Scudetti that were allowed inter to win by the Farce-oppoli that was single-handed masterminded by Moratti? Only for his wire-tapes to be released year later? How conveniently , right after the expiration of the statute of limitation.? those five scudetti?

If you think Mancini's gonna win anything again, you're deluded yourself.This time there's GONNA be JUVE there to POUNCE you in the head and send you back to the mediocrity where you belong!.. everytime!
on the 1st May, 2015 at 3:53pm
you must be under 7 to believe inter really won 5 scudetto . as it has been proven they are the cheats . its getting old you idiots are starting to sound really stupid and defeated by making stories up . oh well whatever makes you losers feel better .keep up the hating guys u make us juve fans feel so special .
on the 1st May, 2015 at 12:25pm
@anonymous . we dont have 40 yrs to wait for the milan clubs to win cl again . 80 yrs for inter hahahaha .
on the 1st May, 2015 at 12:22pm
@ Anon, You must be under 10 if you think Inter have had ÿears of mediocrity. 5 Scudettos (and would have been more only for the cheats) and not to forget the unique treble, in fact it seems like only yesterday. The next Italian club to win the Champions League will be one of the clubs from Milan......wait and see.
on the 1st May, 2015 at 11:12am
yes it can only be love even though your team is as corrupt as tony Blair and you still follow them.
on the 1st May, 2015 at 10:05am
love it when perennial losers find something to gloat about for years while living a life of mediocrity
on the 1st May, 2015 at 5:12am
Only you, my friend, can interpret a lose-lose situation as win-win, because of course, you could lose even more and fall even harder. Brilliant! Bravo!
on the 30th April, 2015 at 7:24pm
@ Anonymous

Inter-Juve will not exactly decide a Scudetto or a relegation, if Inter don't make EL it won't be a tragedy. The club didn't go bankrupt when we missed out on Europe in 13-14. As for bottom of the pit, I guess you're referring to juve's little adventure in SERIE B ;) That was highly enjoyable for us Interisti, I'll tell you that! Moreover, your comment is silly as Inter reached the top, the pinnacle. European Champions 2010, only Italian club to win a Treble, or have you forgotten?
on the 30th April, 2015 at 6:19pm
I for one wish by the time the game against Juve rolls around for Inter, the game will be a make-or-break for Inter, and I would love to see Juve sink Inter to the bottom of the pit, where they belong.
on the 30th April, 2015 at 4:56pm
Fiorentina are 1 point ahead of Inter, but not in 6th place. They are now 7th and Genoa are 6th (2 points ahead of Inter). So Inter will need to overtake them as well in order to qualify for Europe.
on the 30th April, 2015 at 4:19pm
I think Inter have the quality & have now found the form to beat Sampdoria & Fiorentina to 5th spot but I truly believe it is not in Inters best interest to qualify for EL. Financially they make very little gain considering they will be hit with a €7m fine by Uefa if they make Europe. At least it is a win/win regardless where we finish lol
on the 30th April, 2015 at 4:00pm
Realistically speaking Inter 'should' beat Chievo and Empoli in Milano but this season Inter failed to win home games against the bottom three so you never know! I think we'll lose to Genoa and Lazio probably. We might beat juve as by the time we play them they'd have nothing to play for, then again, playing Inter is usually juve's World Cup final so..
on the 30th April, 2015 at 1:27pm

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