Here was the way that the scenario was supposed to go: Inter would win the thrown game on Saturday and then the favor would be returned yesterday so that Fiorentina could get into Europe. In Italy, this is called a "biscuit". I don’t know why it’s called a biscuit, maybe because there is usually coffee involved in the planning stages, or maybe it’s because the damned things are so unpleasant that no one can eat a whole one and the miserable thing is hammered in two and the horrible, evil "edible" is shared. It’s a mystery to me... on several levels.
Anyway, that’s the way it was "supposed" to go, if you talked to "certain people" (We all know who, right?), because I guess our team is so terribly bad that we can’t try to win games on our own. Or something.
Anyhoo, as one might imagine, it wasn’t even close to what actually happened – besides, I am convinced that Fiorentina can and will get into Europe on their own. Not only did Inter play to win on Saturday, nearly doing so, but Inter also played to keep their 1-0 advantage in the Coppa game yesterday. They increased it, and iced the tie, by scoring a beautiful Eto’o goal in the second half, assisted by Thiago Motta - who has set up more goals this season than he will probably get credit for.
The Inter player of the game is without a doubt
This game was a mirror image of the game on Saturday.
On Saturday, we were going for multiple goals with multiple attackers. In a wide open game, you get lots of scores as people get out of position, have more open space open up and then get too tired to flex back into defensive position. When you start out the game tired, like we did, I think it just makes the job tougher on yourself. Also on Saturday we, maybe due to tiredness, started taking these ridiculously long shots – made more ridiculous because we have Eto’o and Milito just sitting up there sharpening their very accurate and prolific boots.
In the game yesterday, we passed the ball patiently around the area looking for a crease to slide or chip a through ball in to… surprise, surprise… Eto’o. Wow! What a good idea. Let one of the 5 or 10 best strikers of his generation take a shot on goal. I tell you, this Mourinho guy is a genius and I’m not talking about the computer store kind, nuh huh.
Another improvement besides the two I mentioned above was the formation. This is not a dig at Vinod, but we used a formation last Saturday that, in my opinion, gave up too much control of the midfield. Yesterday, we played with 4 in the midfield - even if two of them were defenders by trade - and it looked to me, minus the 20 - 25 minutes right before the half, that we had exerted some control over the middle third that we didn’t have on Saturday.
One last improvement… we played with Balotelli, Cordoba, Materazzi and Muntari. One could even argue that Motta should be in this group as well. My point? We rested up to 5 players ahead of our Champions League and Championship game – that was (ahem ahem, significant look) moved up. This is something that could have been done as well on Saturday. Not because Fiorentina are a bad team that we can get away with the “B” team playing, but because we have the depth on the bench that we can use to keep our players from being so tired.
I can’t believe that Mourinho doesn’t see this as clearly as we do. There either is some belief that the team is in some kind of super football condition or there has to be some kind of ego thing going on in the dressing room that we don’t know about that is keeping some players on the field more than others. Otherwise, it doesn’t make any sense not to rest Milito for a week and let Eto’o play up top on Saturday by himself or with Pandev or Balotelli. Jeez, it’s not like Eto’o is a terrible player, you know? Pain in the ass? Yes, I can see that. Terrible player? No.
Okay, so where do we go from here? We have Juventus on Friday. Depending on how closely the players are identifying with their respective clubs, we should be in for a spirited match on both our side and the group from Shroudtown.
After that pleasant game we stay in Italy for the first leg of the Champions League Semi-Final match with the very tough and heavily favored Barcelona team. It should be mentioned somewhere that we have lost almost every Championship game that we have played before a Champions League game since we advanced to the knockout stage.
All of this will happen in the next 6 days. Stay tuned.