Has Luciano Spalletti lost his head at Inter Milan?

Chloe Beresford by Chloe Beresford / 13 March 2018, 10:07

Napoli were the visitors at San Siro on Sunday, the night that Inter celebrated their 110th birthday. The fixture list had handed the Nerazzurri an extremely difficult fixture as the Partenopei were battling to retain their position at the top of the league – having lost 4-2 to Roma the weekend before – rivals Juventus setting out their stall with a 2-0 win earlier in the day.

To say they faced such a difficult opponent at a key moment in time Inter had battled hard to earn a 0-0 draw, the same result as they mustered back in Naples earlier in the campaign.

Both sides struggled to get shots on target, the home team with just one from three attempts and Maurizio Sarri’s men with two from a total of 13 shots. The Partenopei inevitably dominated possession but the Inter defence were quick to shut them down, Milan Skriniar, Marcelo Brozovic, Miranda and Danilo D’Ambrosio with six,four, three and three tackles respectively.

Yet boss Luciano Spalletti was not happy.

Interviewed after the match, the tactician went on an unexpected rant, lambasting his players and lamenting the lack of resources available to him in order to improve the squad. “I’ve worked with this team every day and I think there is simply a lack of quality. Napoli have quality, we don’t have much,” Spalletti told reporters at Sky Italia.

“We were solid, we allowed very little and were always a team, of course, but when we talk about quality, I say the difference between us and Napoli was visible.

“I repeat, I don’t think that I can improve this performance with work in training. I’ve been trying to do it all season. We have never played these great games where we pass the ball around quickly and with quality.

“Today we won back the ball five or six times and could’ve hurt them, but we didn’t. Rafinha played in his position and he’s doing well, but we mustn’t put too much responsibility on his shoulders. Don’t forget in January there were a dozen names circulating and in the end we only managed to sign him.”

Even if the comments were justified in some ways, it begs the question of why on earth Spalletti chose that moment to say these things. It is almost impossible to see any kind of positive outcome from what he said, unless, of course, he was deliberately trying to get himself fired from his position.

Inter were seemingly slowly emerging from an extremely delicate time, one in which they went from the top of the league to a nine game stretch without a win. Spalletti had admitted that the problems during this period were largely psychological, which makes his latest outburst even more puzzling.

After those nine matches, the Nerazzurri had beaten Bologna, lost to Genoa, secured three points against Benevento and then had seen the Milan derby postponed last Sunday as a result of the death of Davide Astori.

To then earn a 0-0 draw with Napoli would seem like a positive, even if the performance was still not quite right in an attacking sense. However it seems like this Coach simply can’t resist a good moan, creating tension at each and every turn.

His last weeks at Roma in 2016/17 were characterised by an ongoing feud with the retiring captain Francesco Totti, the media still talking about these events as recently as last month.

“There has never been a clarification with Spalletti and there never will be. I’d have preferred to close my career in a different way,” said the legendary captain in an interview with Sky Italia. “If I were him, I’d have dealt with the player, and above all the person, in a different way. I’d have talked to him and confronted our ideas.”

All this may be a way to force the hand of the Inter hierarchy, but at what cost to the playing squad? Perhaps rather than pointing fingers at others, it would be wise for the boss to adopt a more positive approach, brushing up on his PR skills along the way. Improved results may well be a consequence – thus the need to play the blame game would be negated – and Luciano Spalletti may just avoid losing his job at of the world’s biggest clubs.

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