It was only last month when Inter Milan beat Atalanta 7-1 and a place in Europe–even a challenge for the top three and a spot in the Champions League–looked possible. Since then, the team has drawn two and lost three, but none in such circumstances as Sunday’s 5-4 loss at Fiorentina. Inter was 2-1 up after an hour but somehow slipped to 5-2 down before pulling back two late goals.
“Unfortunately what we saw in the second half cannot be my team,” Pioli told Mediaset after the game. “We had the right mentality and approach for 45 minutes and then had an inexplicable blackout. It was too bad to be true. I am responsible for this performance, as are my players. We seem psychologically fragile and struggle to react when we run into problems, and that’s a huge issue, because there are always going to be problems that we have to overcome. When we have a problem, we become a small team.”
According to reports in Italy Monday, Pioli offered his resignation after the game, but was rejected, though Inter released a statement disputing the notion, lambasting the performance vs. Fiorentina and backing Pioli.
Next week Inter faces Napoli, and a similar result might lead to the same fallout: youth team coach Stefano Vecchi is on standby to take over. But what would this solve? Pioli inherited a squad that was not even put together by his predecessor, Frank de Boer, whose early-season treatment by the club looks increasingly tough by the day. And if Vecchi takes over, as he did briefly when De Boer was fired, for whom is he saving the seat? Inter has been linked with offering the coach’s job, and a huge salary, to Diego Simeone and Antonio Conte, but why on earth would they come to a club with no European football and proven capricious owners who give coaches little time?
What would make sense would be to allow Pioli a summer to bring in his own players and improve a squad that is imbalanced in certain positions. Instead, you can probably expect a new man in the dugout and some big-name vanity signings that do little to solve the bigger problems at the club. One other name linked to the post was Monaco boss Leonardo Jardim, although once again, with the talent he currently has in his squad, you’d have to question why he would see that move as a step up.