It is tough to put this season into a ‘success’ or ‘failure’ bracket for Inter. While fans will retain the argument that it has been a clear failure, it is not something Luciano Spalletti will look back on and smile.
The 4-1 loss to Napoli was probably the definition of it all. It was a clueless performance from a side that refused to give its all. While the season is next to over, Inter still have a top four spot to play for. The loss to Napoli last weekend did not help them at all in that regard.
The game against Empoli will define their season even more. With the relegation battlers looking to win to avoid the drop and plunge Fiorentina or Genoa into it, the clash won’t at all be an easy for the nerazzurri.
While the Azzurri are not in the bottom three currently, the game involving Genoa and Fiorentina could well define their fate if Aurelio Andreazzoli’s men fail to win themselves.
That will make Inter’s task all the more stiff. Roma harbor very minute hopes of making top four and they will open up only if Inter fail to win. AC Milan and Atalanta have games of their own to win and will be ready to pile the pressure onto Inter.
It would be a good way for Spalletti to leave the reins for Antonio Conte. It is not ideal, but considering the situation the club is in and the negativity that has surrounded the tenure, it will provide Conte the right foundation to take the side forward under him from next season onwards.
The Mauro Icardi situation has not helped Spalletti and many have criticised his man management abilities. It has brought out issues about rifts at the club and a power struggle that Massimo Marotta would not want to have. The side does not seem to have a tactical identity, despite Spalletti being here for two seasons.
While that is the case for clubs like AC Milan as well, Spalletti has had enough money to spend and he has got the players he has needed. But still, the side has lacked an identity to take it to another level. Napoli had Carlo Ancelotti as their new manager and were in a transition which has seen them change their approach, but Inter have not made an identity for themselves yet.
Roma have had a poor season as Monchi and Eusebio di Francesco were not on the same wavelength and even despite that, Inter failed to capitalise. Performances have been patchy and the failure to win against the bigger sides has costed them.
The UEFA Champions League exit came after a slip up against PSV in a key game, allowing eventual finalists Tottenham to go through on away goals. And that has been a problem too- picking up points at crucial moments.
But finishing inside top four will make sure that Conte has the foundation and more than that- the budget to make this team look like his own. He will impose his style and do what Spalletti is yet to do at Inter.