Inter's miserable start to 2019 continued as they were defeated 1-0 by Bologna on Sunday evening.
Inter started the first half slowly and they were deservedly behind just after the half-hour mark. Federico Santander rose above Stefan de Vrij from a Bologna corner, heading the ball beyond Samir Handanovic at the near post to put the away side into the lead.
Mauro Icardi had a golden opportunity to level things up for I Nerazzurri when he was slipped in on goal just before the interval, but the Argentinian was denied at the last moment by Lukasz Skorupski.
Inter improved in the secondhalf, but they found it difficult to create many clear cut chances against a deep-lying Bologna defence. Lautaro Martinez and Icardi came close to finding an equaliser, but they both saw their efforts fly wide of the mark.
Makeshift striker Andrea Ranocchia forced Skorupski into an acrobatic save with a few minutes left on the clock, but that was as close as it got for the Nerazzurri.
Key Talking Point
Inter had only won one of their previous four matches heading into this one, so it was blatantly obvious that Luciano Spalletti's side had much to improve upon if they were to consolidate their top four position in Serie A.
As has been the case far too often in recent weeks, Inter were below par in the first-half and their supporters were more than justified when they greeted the half-time whistle with a chorus of boos and whistles. Their passing was laboured and imprecise and the lack of creativity in the final third meant that attacks were constantly fizzling out.
Things improved slightly after the break, but it was still incredibly uninspiring. The rest of the league is slowly catching up with the Nerazurri and if they don't start picking up points soon then they could be waving goodbye to their Champions League ambitions.
Starting XI: Handanovic (6); Cedric (5), De Vrij (4), Skriniar (6), Dalbert (6); Vecino (5), Brozovic (5), Candreva (4), Nainggolan (4); Perisic (5), Icardi (4).
Substitutes: Martinez (5), Joao Mario (6), Ranocchia (N/A).
Star Man - Dalbert
No one shone on the night for Inter, but Dalbert can hold his head up high for putting in a decent performance at left-back.
The Brazilian has been a target for ridicule this season and he remains rather erratic in defence, but he exhibited a renewed confidence going forward and was arguably Inter's biggest attacking threat, especially in the first-half.
Worst Player - Radja Nainggolan
It's fair to say that Inter's summer move for Nainggolan hasn't exactly worked out for both parties.
The Belgian midfielder looks a shadow of his former self and he endured a particularly difficult game this time around. He was sluggish with the ball at his feet and he lacked the combative edge which underpinned his previous success at Roma.
nainggolan’s first touch is non existent...— ICARDI B (@interjezzy) February 3, 2019
Inter are back in Serie A action next Saturday evening when they travel to face Parma at the Stadio Ennio Tardini.