Sunday November 14 2010
Benitez: 'Early goal ruined our plans'

Rafa Benitez felt Inter should've moved the ball around faster, but their game plan was ruined by the early penalty.

“I don't think we lacked character. The team tried and Milan took the lead so early on with that penalty, then committed a lot of fouls to keep us out,” he said of the 1-0 derby defeat.

“It wasn't easy against a side playing with such intensity and focused on the counter. When they went down to 10 men, we perhaps lacked a bit of patience when choosing the final pass.

“We lost the ball too often in midfield and the team must learn to deal with possession better when behind.

“Milan had more control in the first half, but after the break we attacked continually. If we move the ball faster then we have more space, as we did in the second half down the left flank.

“We struggled to find that space for the through ball, mainly because Milan worked very hard to close them down.

“The penalty changed our game plan. We had intended to wait and create a bit of space behind their defence, but with Milan's early goal we had to push forward more and it was tricky.”

Marco Materazzi played only five of Inter's last 50 games, but was chosen to mark Zlatan Ibrahimovic and gave away the spot-kick after just five minutes.

“He is not a debutant. He has a great deal of experience, we lost Walter Samuel and do not have many centre-backs to face someone like Ibrahimovic who is strong in the air,” continued Benitez.

“The whole game changed with that penalty after five minutes. Materazzi only made one mistake at the start, he did very well for the rest of the match.”

Materazzi was then stretchered off after a mid-air clash with Ibrahimovic left him barely conscious, but should the Swede have had more than a yellow card?

“It isn't easy. It was a nasty collision, but it's difficult to judge the intentions of the player. We can't change anything now. He is alright, but clearly the doctor wants to do tests to be absolutely sure.”

The Nerazzurri are now six points off leaders Milan and are having serious problems scoring goals.

“I think Inter played very well at the start of the season. Clearly last season this side won many games at the end and Diego Milito made the difference. He is not fit right now and it shows, while Samuel Eto'o is a different type of player,” reasoned the Coach.

“You can see that the team looks to Milito, Eto'o and Wesley Sneijder for ideas and they are not at the same fitness or form levels as last season.”

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