Fredholm: Season 2004/05
The season 2004/05 is now over and the new coach Roberto Mancini got a whole year to create a squad and it ended up with a title. Alas, the title might be the smallest we were competing for, but this could be the beginning of something big.
The hoola baloo regarding the coach
Massimo Moratti and Giacinto Facchetti wereít on equal terms during the summer, which was disturbing before the season would start. Facchetti wanted to continue with Zaccherroni, whilst Moratti did his best to try and lure Roberto Mancini away from Lazio.
It ended up with Zaccherroni resigning as our coach, which meant that he released us from any financial duties, like paying wages to him. Say what you want about Zacís ability as a coach for us, but what he did was honourable and unselfish.
As expected- Roberto Mancini takes over the club, which leaves a bitter taste for the Laziosupporters- and board. Did we do this with fair play? Probably not, but then again we donít know all the facts.
Roberto Mancini brought with him assistant coach Fernando Orsi, technical assistant Fausta Salsano, keeper-coach Giulio Nuciari and athletic trainer Ivan Carminati. Carminati would get an important role, as Inter all these years have been ridiculously injury-prone.
Interís new economical policy maintained also this summer. It was cheap transfers and the aim was to get free agents. This is a good strategy if there are good players on the market that doesnít have a contract with any team. Though, the market was full of central defenders. Players like Walter Samuel, Ricardo Carvalho, Fabio Cannavaro and Jaap Stam was up for grabs.
We signed Nicolas Burdisso from Boca Juniors. He wasnít too expensive and was supposed to become an important part of this seasonÖ. he was.
It sadly still remain a huge incompetence within our team, when it comes to directors. Before we had signed Mancini as our new coach, we started to sign players. Basically, we signed players that we had no idea if Mancini even wanted. Though, it was a safe bet when the first player that was signed was Giuseppe Favalli from Lazio. The experienced left back was supposed to be our secure left back, when Cocoís injuries caused huge problems.
Our dear owner Moratti would however make a mess, when both Veron and Davids would arrive almost at the same time. The 21st of May Moratti said: "As regards Veron and Davids I believe our executives are looking around to find the best possible conditions to get closer to the players. But you can't buy two identical players. We're already close to one of the two, so the rumours about one of them are unfounded.Ē
A few days later- Veron arrived on loan and Davids as a free agent some weeks after that.
It was two stars that came in for free, if you could say that. There would be more players that would arrive for free, but would only be considered as players to make up the numbers. From Real Madrid came Esteban Cambiasso who most thought wouldnít get much playing time. Boy, were we wrong!
When Mancini had arrived, a couple of more players would arrive. The most extraordinary was when Sinisa Mihajlovic entered Appiano Gentile. Rumours said that he would become a part of Manciniís staff, but Mihajlovic said from the beginning that heís here to play. He added though that if it wasnít for Roberto Mancini he would have never been an Inter player.
We would buy two players on this market for money, and the second one would be Perugiaís right flanked player Ze Maria. Perugia had been relegated to the Serie B, and it was no secret that their star-player would leave the team. Inter offered Ä1.7 million plus the other half of co-owned Massimiliano Fusani. Perugia accepted and Ze Maria became an Inter player.
As usual when it comes to Inter, we finish the market by selling an important player and shock the football-world. Last year it was Hernan Crespo and this year it would be Fabio Cannavaro. He left for Juventus, in a pure swap deal for the keeper Fabian Carini. The centuryís most idiotic transfer was official and no one really understand what Inter was thinking when they didnít even get any money for the Italian National Team captain, and instead getting a third keeper. The motive to release Cannavaro was due to his high wage, but was there really no team that was willing to buy him for some money? Instead Inter decides to strengthen a rival, in order to get a third keeper.
Considering that Cannavaro left, Inter now had an empty spot in the defence, so they extended Gamarraís contract for another year.
Inter started the season with over 30 players and Nuciari had four keepers that he trained. Well-planned? UnlikelyÖ
Champions League qualifier:
Inter would qualify for the Champions League through a very strong home-team named Basel from Switzerland. The draw could have been easier, but it could also have been tougher.
The Olympics was going on at that time, which meant we would have to do without Kily Gonzalez. It would be even more worrying when Adrianoís father would pass away, which put a big question-mark regarding his ability to play the two matches.
Adriano did return to Europe and would be a key-player for us when we won against Basel. The first game finished 1-1, where Adriano was the goal scorer. We had the away-goal and a seemingly good result against a very strong home-side.
The second leg would become a much easier match, where we won with the big figures 4-1. Adriano scored two goals, while Recoba and Stankovic scored the other two. We were in the Champions League and Manciniís first task was a success.
The aim for me was easy. Manciniís first year would be a year to get acclimated within the club. Itís very rare that a coach win something on his first year, and especially rare when it comes to a club like Inter. Therefore, I had no thoughts of any Scudetto, at least not in public. Of course, I had my dreams, but being the pessimist that I am, I really hadnít expected a Scudetto.
Mancini went back to traditional 4-4-2, but at the same time changed the system completely. The traditional counter-attack system would be changed to a ball-possessional team. The key for playing like this would be Veron. The loaned playmaker would be the player that everything would surround to.
Veronís role would matter very little in the first game against Chievo, when Inter were forced to play with Materazzi and Mihajlovic as the central defenders. That duo would later on during the season show their competence in playing with each other, but the first match was an utter disaster. It was first and foremost Mihajlovic that would be the source for conceding two goals, but at the same time we scored two goals. Manciniís favourite didnít make himself more popular when his first match cost us two goals and was a disaster.
The Serie A-season can be summed up by one letter: X
It started to become on the verge of hilarious the way Inter kept drawing every match, which also gave the haters some more foundations to hand out their ludicrous comments. In the way we kept getting draws was even more bizarre. At first we had the lead in the matches with one-or two goals, just to lose that lead in the end. We were the better team, but each time the defence did any mistake, we were punished by it.
Then it was time for miraculous come-backs, where first of all the game Inter-Sampdoria will be a game never forgotten. It was a game where we were trailing with 0-2, until we changed the match to our favour and won 3-2 only in the space of a few minutes. And all of this happened at the end of the match, which even made the whole experience even more emotional. During my years as an Inter fan, this is the match that I will remember the most of.
We were for a long time undefeated, but all the draws at the beginning of the season, ruined the entire season. We were given some openings for the Scudettorace though, but then we couldnít win our matches. One match that we definitely should have won, was the one against Parma on Ennio Tardini. It ended up with a draw, during a weekend of football where both Juventus and Milan dropped points.
Mancini prefers to say that the loss against Milan was the match where we lost the chance to be in the Scudettorace, but I would like to say it was the draw against Parma that caused it. We then also had some really crappy performances against Reggina and Chievo, that was indicator that this team wasnít ready to win the Scudetto.
The spring was however a fabulous time for Inter. We were the team that scored the most goals, and surprisingly, also the team who conceded the least. Mancini had by now found his formula and the players he wanted to use. Some players had been cut out from the squad, among those was Davids who were undeservedly sacrificed. We had to play the duo Materazzi-Mihajlovic a numerous of times again, since Burdisso was missing. The Argentine had to leave Italy, to return back to Argentina since his son became seriously ill. There he will also probably be next season, and sadly making our scoop for central defender a big flop.
We lost twice during the entire season, which is an extraordinary achievement. Sadly, one of those losses came against the arrogant side on the wrong side of the town. In a bizarre game, where Inter were the better team, Dida won against Inter and it felt very unfair of the way our first loss came about.
The second loss was more surprising, against Messina, despite a clear Inter-domination, but it was the efficiency of Messina that won them the game against an Inter which at that point only had Champions League spots to play for.
We finish the season on the third place, but the performances in the league is not far away from Milan and the winners Juventus at all. We won away against Juventus, and against the same team made a huge come-back at Giuseppe Meazza, so we arenít inferior to these teams at all. If it werenít for the absurd efficiency our opponents had against us during the first half of the season, this season could have been extremely interesting.
Though, a team that has displayed such lack of concentration on so many occasions donít deserve to be champions either.
We now get a Champions League qualifying spot, just like last year. That means that our pre-season will start sooner than usual, and that it will be a longer season. We might have an advantage due to that at the beginning of the season, since our players will be in better physical status than our rivals (Milan and Juventus), but in the long run it will harm us.
We got a decent draw in the Champions League after we eliminated Basel in the qualifying round. We ended up in the same group as Spanish champions Valencia, German champions Werder Bremen and Belgian champions Anderlecht.
The most memorable match would be the one against Valencia away. Yours truly, had recently lost the channel which broadcasted the game, and had to look all over the town for someone who had the channel, because I was not going to miss it. The numbers spoke in our favour after the game with humongous 5-1 at Mestalla, and all of the work to try and see this game was worth it.
We were awesome in the group stage and the first three games we won relatively easy. That gave us some breathing room for the next three matches, where we played securely to not lose any match.
We advanced to the next round where we were drawn against the reigning champions Porto. The same team had lost most of their key-players from that year and couldnít be compared to the team that won the Cup. It was with other words a good draw for us and we would also advance.
Adriano had been in a bad period for a while, but in the return leg at San Siro he would be the decider of the encounter. Despite that Toldo in both matches had made mistakes and cost us goals, we show our offensive qualities. Adriano scores three goals on San Siro, which meant that Porto had more or less no chance of advancing.
We were now in the quarter-final and a couple of good teams had been kicked out in the last 16 round. Considering how good Inter had performed in the Champions League, the thoughts of a final was starting to emerge inside my head. There was only one team I really wanted to avoid in the draw for the quarter-final. That team was Milan. Which team did we draw against? Yes, MilanÖ
Faith laughs you directly in your face and considering that it seems to be destined that Inter canít score against Milan, it felt hopeless. The result in the first leg was laughable, when Inter was once again the better team, but Milan win the game with 2-0. 2-0!!!!
Two mistakes in the defence and bang! On the other side, there was an inhuman called Dida who saved everything, and now it was more or less impossible to advance.
The second leg was eventually a humiliation and not because of the result and performance. We had once again the ball-possession, but once again Milan got one chance, and once again Dida was inhuman. Milan scored the goal, whilst Merk robbed us on a goal, and that was when all hell broke lose. Flares were raining down on the pitch, whereas one of them hit Dida and the match was suspended and Milan won the match by 3-0. The Interfans embarrassed themselves and this is a dark period in Interís history.
We were knocked out, but performance wise with honour. The fans however humiliated themselves completely.
Justice was served when Milan lost the final in a bizarre way after being the better team against Liverpool, and now they knew how it felt to lose while being the better team.
Vincere!!! Alright, Coppa Italia is indeed a cup where you play your reserves, and not really any of the big teams takes it seriously. But itís damn fun to finally experience a title. That we will witness another jersey next season is a proof of this.
Due to our squad size, we managed to play really good players in this cup. It wasnít like a few years ago when Cuper played a bunch of Primavera players against Bari and got knocked out.
We had a painless journey throughout the entire tournament, and we didnít lose a single match. We were never really close of being knocked out or lose the final against Roma, and the celebrations that we could see after the game showed how important this was for our players and staff.
The only scandal in this cup was brought by the Argentinean National Team manager Pekerman, who called up Cambiasso and Javier Zanetti for the Confederations Cup match against Tunisia, and then benches them both, whereas Zanetti got to play the last 11 minutes. Itís a terrible thing to do of Pekerman, who could have at least given Zanetti the game off to lift the trophy, and for the first time as the captain of Inter to win something.
CHI NON SALTA … UN ROSSONERO EY EY
Conclusion of the season 2004/05:
It was all in all a very good, according to me. Roberto Mancini was brand new, which means he has to acclimate himself within the club. He changed system and even if there has been some mistakes and a lot of favouritism on his part, he pass this season by a margin.
The transfer of the season was Esteban Cambiasso who made a breakthrough like never before. He started on the bench, but got the chance against Anderlecht and took it and was ever since a starter for our team. We will build a lot surrounding this player in the future.
We had big problems during the season with set pieces and it started to improve at the end of the season. The concentration wasnít always top-notch and it was a lot of mistakes in the defence. During the spring, Mancini started to show that he is capable of coaching defensively as well, and that can be proved by showing tapes of the duo Materazzi-Mihajlovic. Who could predict that these two would dominate against Totti-Cassano? All the credit to Mancini for making this work.
During many years now we have had difficulties on the midfield. We have both lacked wingers and a playmaker. Veron came to the team and immediately took charge of the midfield and the pace of the game, especially on the central midfield even if he was played as a right winger a few times as well. The only problem with Veron during the season, was that Mancini wanted that everything should go through him, which would be too excessive, and leaving players like Stankovic in No Manís land. Through Veronís season, Mancini has now an idea of how to play next season, whether it will be Veron or someone else (read; Pizarro) who will control the team on the midfield.
Our Achilles heal is in the defence, especially the spot next to Cordoba. Mihajlovic surprised us all with a good season, but itís not a player to build around. Materazzi had his worst season since signing for us, and by threatening to leave the team, he earned himself a wage-rise and an extension of his already long contract, but his performance didnít improve due to that.
We have through this season been able to identify our problems and which players that Mancini will use. Next season we will definitely see Manciniís Inter where we will sign players he wants, and those players that he doesnít want will leave. We will definitely see players like Fontana and Emre leaving the club, after their outbursts.
We are heading for an interesting future and hopefully our club wonít wreck everything that we have built up during this season, by signing a bunch of needless players like usual.
Great review Jimmy.
Forza Inter per sempre!!!!
Jose responding after the derby:"We could only have lost by having six people on the park, as even with seven, we would have won. "
New Domain name www.forzainterforums.com
A great article Jimmy, very competent and objective analysis.
While I agree on many things you say, I'd like to point out a few things:
1) On Zac, I think he's got some money under the table. He has proven to be quite bitter about Inter, giving interviews blasting Moratti, Facchetti, Branca and even Mancini.
2) I understand your point of view about the Parma game being vital, but I have to say the Milan game was a lethal blow. First defeat, and we outplayed them. If you look back at derbys in the last 10 years, you won't find many in which we outplayed them. We surely were able to score goals against them, but the midfield has usually been a red and black affair. I remember watching that game and saying 'we can score this damn goal and cut the distance, we can still do it, there is time'. And then the ball bounced off Kaka'...
3) About Milan, I think justice was done not only because of us, but because of PSV as well. It was a disgrace that PSV went out, Milan only played for one half in the space of 2 games.
4) You say Materazzi failed to improve after his contract was renewed. Actually he did, he was really rock solid in the last part of the season. He played great games in the Coppa Italia final.
Once again, great piece of reading Jimbo.
22/05/10 CHAMPIONS OF EUROPE
18/12/10 WORLD CHAMPIONS
29/08/09 Milan 0 Inter 4 Thiago Motta, Milito (p), Maicon, Stankovic - Dominated and outclassed
Materazzi World Champion
Didn't really hear of that. I saw one interview he gave and he just talked about how Vieri is losing his touch due to training methods etc.
Originally Posted by Frisko
I only read of his talk that he didn't get the players needed. But what did you expect him to say? He was fired and wanted to point out few stuff. I remember him saying he wanted Janku, Stam and Totti, and that the team didn't negotiate for them. These were hard demands, but maybe he was upset we didn't try.
But I know what you mean, Cuper for example never said I didn't get a decent CD or a winger. But Cuper got paid well after he got fired, Zac quit and saved us few bucks.
about the Milan derby kinda thing, i got one: actually, the final winner is juve, even there was not kaka's goal, even we won them in the serie a, we couldn't be the champion yet. if there were so many draws in the beginning, no chance to win the scutto, even we are the 2rd half champion. so, no vital match.
i am sorry for my english.