Inter Milan shockingly lost against Atalanta on Sunday, 3-1, and not only did Cristiano Doni and Co. bring Inter down from their high chairs, they also completely humiliated the reigning champions.
Mourinho’s side was indeed struggling with injuries but was still able to field a decent team, even though the Portuguese tactician did make some rather questionable choices in his lineup by handing Nicolas Burdisso and Hernan Crespo starting shirts.
The scoreline read 3-0 in favor of the home team after the half-hour mark. Most people probably couldn’t believe their eyes, but what was worse than Inter’s dreadful performance was the obvious lack of effort from Nerazzuri side. Some blame Mourinho, some blame the players, but as far as I’m concerned it was a collective downfall.
Despite being three goals up, the home team were relentless in their offensive raids—the visiting side, on the other hand, couldn’t manage to create a real offensive danger had their lives depended on it.
Motivation over class? It certainly worked the trick for Atalanta when the Bergamo club proved that the lack of respect for your opponents usually results in underestimation.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic was seen sulking around the way he tends to do when things don’t go his way, and perhaps the Sweden international wasn’t entirely at fault seeing as the midfield had obvious difficulties feeding the ball up to the strikers. The Swede did, however, get to tidy up the numbers with his tap-in deep into the stoppages.
Inter has since Mourinho’s arrival showcased very few convincing wins, and the team has gotten by mostly on the sudden bursts of inspiration from Ibrahimovic—but when the talisman has a bad day, it seems the whole team follow suit.
A quality that has grown to become a trait at Inter is their arrogance. Under the guidance of the self proclaimed "Special One," it is perhaps not so difficult to understand why. Then again, this is a quality that the team has sported ever since Juventus’ demotion to Serie B.
So, was the shake-up at the hands of Atalanta simply surprising or just long overdue?
Prior to Juventus’ demotion, the Turin club functioned more like a well-oiled machine than real players. Going into games with the air of no care in the world, it was easy as a spectator to see that the game had lost some of its flair.
It took humbling of the very greatest kind to unite the players under the joy and team spirit, and these days it is the club’s strong character combined with sheer will and respect for their opponents that wins them the games more than anything else.
With Juventus sent off to the second division and Milan handicapped by the point deduction, Inter quickly became the powerhouse in the Italian top flight. With the obvious lack of real competition, confidence grew and arrogance slowly reared its ugly face. A dangerous trait at any club.
For the first time since Inter began their dominance in Serie A has the Scudetto been in serious jeopardy. Is it really arrogance, or is it simply complacency?
Whatever the reason may be for their below par performances these last couple of weeks, the players need a reality check and to change things quickly considering that both Juventus and Milan are inching closer and currently lie only three and six points behind respectively.