Inter's crisis of epic proportions - after just five games, Gian Piero Gasperini has to go, but he's only the start of their problems

The former Genoa boss is destined for the chop, but the Nerazzurri's fall from grace has taken place over a much longer period than his five games in charge
By Kris Voakes | Italian Football Editor

Just when it seemed it couldn’t get any worse …

After the losses to Milan, Palermo and Trabzonspor, and the unconvincing draw with Roma, the nadir was still to come. Inter’s 3-1 defeat to Novara last night was straight out of a horror show, but president Massimo Moratti was unable to turn away from the action in front of him, he couldn’t change the channel. He just had to sit there and watch as the little Piedmont side took his lifeless, gutless team apart. And today, coach Gian Piero Gasperini is likely to pay with his job.

"I did not see the coach have the team in hand," Moratti told Sky Sport Italia as he attempted a hasty exit from the Stadio Silvio Piola at full-time. "I will take the night to decide."

But what is there to decide really? Just five games into the job, Gasperini has completely and utterly lost control … if indeed he ever had it. Moratti is right in his assertion that the coach doesn’t have the ship on the right course, and he looks less likely to steer them in the right direction with each passing game, but what did he expect when the players knew just as well as everyone else that Gasperini was the fifth-choice man for the job in the summer.

Lacking clear direction and any kind of authority, the former Genoa boss seems completely out of his depth. But he is far from the only guilty party right now. Yes, his inevitable sacking should bring about an upturn in fortunes, if solely because the players will respond well to being freed from his shackles, but the complete dismantling of the club as a top European force cannot be blamed only on Gasperini and his switching of systems.

FIVE-GAME GASP | Inter's appalling record under Gasperini

AC Milan - L 1-2

Palermo - L 3-4

T'spor - L 0-1

Roma - D 0-0

Novara - L 1-3

A series of bad coaching appointments have raised question marks over the decision-making abilities of Moratti - however much he is trying to meet the new demands of Financial Fair Play, while the transfer campaigns undergone with sporting director Marco Branca holding the chequebook have left a lot to be desired.

Meanwhile, out on the pitch there has appeared a bunch of players who have simply not been up for the fight. Just as in the final months of Rafael Benitez’s reign last winter, when the players often seemed to be going about their work in a carefree, careless manner, so too now they are completely devoid of any heart for the fight. Their performance last night was gutless. Diego Milito and Lucio turned in possibly their worst displays as professionals, while the likes of Wesley Sneijder, Diego Forlan and Yuto Nagatomo just couldn’t get going. And the less said about Andrea Ranocchia, the better.

Sixteen months ago, as the Nerazzurri embarked on their treble-winning run-in, Novara were collecting the Lego Pro 1A title. The Azzurri's rise has been phenomenal, but Inter's unravelling has been the stuff of nightmares.

That is not to say that Novara didn’t deserve their win. Attilio Tesser’s side took to the task well from the opening exchanges, and once the first 10 or 15 minutes had passed, they were the better, more lively team for most of the encounter. In fact, they could have had more than the three goals they eventually scored, as former Juventus youth Marco Rigoni’s double punished the 18-time champions.

But Inter should not have even given them a look-in. Sixteen months ago, as the Nerazzurri embarked on a run-in which would see them collect an unprecedented treble, Novara were collecting the Lega Pro 1A title. The Azzurri’s rise has been phenomenal, but all the while Inter’s unravelling has been the stuff of nightmares.

They may have added three trophies to the cabinet last term, but that only served to paper over the cracks – cracks which are now deepening almost by the hour. Claudio Ranieri is the favourite to replace Gasperini, but while the ‘Tinkerman’ is an old pro when it comes to steadying the ship, his title-winning credentials are not the type they were looking for just last summer.

The problem right now is that titles are the last thing on the club’s mind. They simply need stability. With an ageing squad, steps need to be taken to get the right attitude out of the players until they can be replaced with younger models. At the moment, they seemingly couldn’t care less.

So when the inevitable happens, and fifth-choice Gian Piero Gasperini is relieved of his duties after a fifth game without a win, don’t expect miracles to happen under the next brave sole to take on the poisoned chalice. If Inter are to be in any better a position at this time next year, there needs to be an attitude adjustment both in the boardroom and out on the pitch if the club is to achieve any sort of progression.

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