Are Inter struggling in Europe because Serie A is too easy?

October 21, 2009

A half empty San Siro didn’t even whistle after Inter Milan’s 2-2 draw with Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League.

The Nerazzurri faithful are very used to average performances in Europe, they’ve not won in eight games and haven’t triumphed in the competition since 1965.

Coach Jose Mourinho wasn’t that upset either, he knew Inter had got out of jail thanks to Barcelona’s shock home defeat by Rubin Kazan in the other Group F game. Barca, Dynamo and Rubin are on four points with Inter on three with three to play.

 ”This is a group with great difficulties. It’s a group with four champions,” he said.

On Saturday Inter went to Genoa, possibly the trickiest ground to visit in Serie A, and won 5-0 with almost the same side that then drew with Dynamo.

Serie A has been declining in quality for years and champions Inter are clear at the top already despite only playing well in fits and starts.

The Champions League now looks like a whole different ball game compared to the domestic league. UEFA president Michel Platini was criticised for making sure more smaller teams were in the competition this season but it is still looking very competitive given the Rubin and Kiev results, and Rangers 1 Unirea Urziceni 4. Liverpool’s troubles are another story.

Unlike the past, Mourinho is hinting that a home game with the likes of Dynamo is more difficult than an away match at a decent Serie A side.

Is it beginning to be true in other leagues as well? Are Rubin Kazan better than the likes of Deportivo for example?

PHOTO: Inter Milan’s Walter Samuel (L) challenges Dynamo Kiev’s Andriy Shevchenko during their Champions League soccer match at the San Siro stadium in Milan October 20, 2009. REUTERS/Max Rossi

15 comments

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hadnt really thought about it that way but its a very good point, i didnt agree with platinis idea to bring in champions from other countries but so far it has made for some very unexpected results, perhaps the bigger clubs are getting too complacent before playing the minnows of the groups i.e inter, barca, rangers (sort of) i wont include liverpool because without gerrard and torres i dont think they have a hope in hell of winning their group let alone the whole competition!

Posted by maid | Report as abusive

Not sure that logic works, given Fiorentina’s CL success so far. Unless you follow up by saying that the English league is too easy, since Liverpool are struggling like crazy against teams from Italy and France.

For Inter the issue seems to be mental, as it has been for years — even before Mourinho arrived. They just don’t turn up in Europe, no matter who they’re playing (and I say that as an Inter supporter); it’d be easier if it was “just” a problem of ability/complacency.

Posted by Emily | Report as abusive

but liverpool have struggled in the premier league also this season so saying that the premier league is easy wouldnt make sense? either way i hope it proves to be the case that serie a is getting easier as roma travel to fortress craven cottage tomorrow night!

Posted by maid | Report as abusive

No way, It was only two years ago AC Milan won the champions league and even when the Italian Serie-A was the premier league with all the best players, Inter still failed to even reach a final. They then signed the then best player in world football, the Brazilian Ronaldo and even he couldn’t get Inter into a final. While this was happening, AC Milan and Juventus were fighting for Champions league gloy in an all Italian final. Inter can NOT peform in Europe, it’s a mental thing they MUST try and overcome.

Posted by Simon | Report as abusive

Rubin are certainly better than the likes of Deportivo, Mark. The Russian league, which I watch on telly every weekend along with the top five and a few others, is definitely the first in line behind the top fivein Europe(Eng, Esp, Ita, Ger, Fra), if it isn’t already on the same par with the French Ligue 1.

Posted by Zoran | Report as abusive

Spot on! One only needs to remember how easy it was for Manchester United against Inter at the San Siro last time out. Although they didn’t win they could have easily got bucket loads of goals. Inter were played off the pitch. Then at OT it was just a formality. Inter cannot compete against the champions from elsewhere in Europe yet they have been so dominant in the last couple of years in the Serie A. Pure logic, its too easy in Italy.

Posted by Tigere | Report as abusive

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well, i would bet more on the mental argument before thinking Serie A is an easy championship. I think the italian championship is a very particular one which cant be compared to any other. its true that in the last 2/3 years Premier League and Spanish Primera División got more attention and fame: just see where the top two players of the world played (Messi and Ronaldo). Therefore, i believe Mourinho is trying his best to change Inters players mentality and trying to make them believe and trust themselves.

Zoran, cant we agree on anything? =) i wouldnt say Russian league is in par with the French Ligue 1. i would say that Netherlands is in the top 5, France in 6th in par with Portugal and only then the Russian football, that in spite of all the millions invested there, only now we can see anything from them…

About the Champions League possible winners, i still believe that Barcelona, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Manchester United, one of them will win the competition.

Posted by SLBenfica | Report as abusive

I think you wrote this post a little too early, after AC Milan defeats Real Madrid at The Bernabeu!

Still, I think the best results this week came from the Ligue 1 teams, the most underrated teams in the CL. Though Marseille look horrible, Lyon and Bordeaux look great!

England, on the other hand, is extremely overrated! Why? Because there is no competition between the top four, with the exception of Man City now and Tottenham and maybe Villa. The lack of competition shows the lack of quality outside the top teams in England.

While in Ligue 1, recently promoted Montpellier are in second place. Shows that competition is great throughout Ligue 1.

Yes i did post this before Milan’s result but I was particularly talking about Inter, because their brand of physical football blows away other Serie A sides while in Europe they get caught out by the guile of other European teams, which Italian football generally now lacks.
Milan are naturally more suited to the Champions League than Serie A I feel, and have been for years.

Posted by Mark | Report as abusive

SL Benfica,

It seems we can’t agree on anything and why would we need to? How many Russian league matches have you seen to make your assumptions?

Posted by Zoran | Report as abusive

The Dutch League ahead of the French, Portuguese league ahead of Russia and n the same par with France? France have 3 teams in the CL this season, Russia have 2, while Netherlands and Portugal have 1 each. SL Benfica, your logic is strange to say the least.

Posted by Red Devil | Report as abusive

Zoran and Red Devil, unfortunately, here in Portugal we arent able to see many Russian games on television. Still i try to watch them now and then on the television. But i do see lot of CL and Europe Cup games. And i do see the class of portuguese teams are far greater then russian ones. When was the last time a russian team won a CL? Honestly i think none has… About portuguese clubs, Benfica won twice, same as Porto. Ajax, PSV and Feyenoord also won the competition. For France, only Marseille did win the cup… About having this year less teams doesnt mean we are weaker. It means we have way less money then you have. And im happy for that. At least, we know where the money from our teams come from, instead of Russian ones. And Zoran, i remember a 4-0 and 7-1, both wins for Portugal. More words?
Red Devil, did France manage to qualify for South Africa? not yet… and what about the Netherlands? Check the tables. and if you both have some time, see the goals Benfica scored yesterday against… Everton!

Just a final idea: since when football is about logic??

Posted by SLBenfica | Report as abusive

i meant to say i try to watch the russian games on the internet, not on the television.

Posted by SLBenfica | Report as abusive

Meanwhile, Benfica beats Everton 5-0. Only the EPL’s TOP 4 teams are decent. The rest are rubbish teams with no skills. They rely on physocal strength and kick-and-rush (shit-on-a-stick football).

Posted by African | Report as abusive

SL Benfica

1) I am not Russian
2) Football, like mother other things in life, is about logic abd yes, more money usually means a stronger league
3) What have Portuguese clubs achieved recently, the last five years for example? Zenit and CSKA on the other hand, have won the UEFA Cup.
4) Quote: “At least, we know where the money from our teams come from, instead of Russian ones.” What exactly are you implying?

Posted by Zoran | Report as abusive