San Siro Exit
I read ex-Livepool manager Rafa Benitez has been acrimoniously sacked by Inter Milan, after only six months in the job. Apparently El-President is a little unhappy that Inter lie 7th in the league. Why is that so bad? The season's not over yet.
Last year Inter finished top in Italian Seria A under 'The Special One' Jose Mourinho. Inter also picked up the Coppa Italia and to round the season off, they won the Champions League Cup. Quite a feat. Beating the best Europe can throw at them. It was the first time they have done the 'Treble'. Whether you like Mourinho or not, he gets results.
Benitez inherited a treble winning team, and has slowly squandered the winning momentum and mentality to sink to a lowly 7th place. Add to the mix, Benitez belligerent abrasive style, and you can understand why the Inter board were pleased to dump him.
In a way, its a re-run of what happened at Liverpool. Benitez inherited a good squad. He spent close to £300 Million and left behind a collection of mediocre players, that deserve Liverpool's current position of 9th place in the Premier League.
I watched incredulously and horror last season when, week after week Benitez wrestled with indecision on formation and team selection. After an outstanding performance one week, Benitez would drop key players for the next. Players whose game sparkled with flair, improvisation, commitment and work rate. Next game they warm the bench.
Game after game Benitez would switch formation. Change winning team selection. Move Gerrard out left or wide on the right wing. He would split partnerships that worked well, built a quiet understanding of each others game and support play.
Benitez laboured with zonal marking year after year, when it was obvious it did not work. Any one with a modicum of intelligence could see it was Liverpool's achilles heal. They leaked goals every week. Liverpool conceded more goals from set pieces (corners, and free kicks), than open play.
The news emanating from Italy, suggests Inter have suffered a similar fate.
Some online news sites suggest Premiere League vacancies will open to Benitez. They must be crazy. Has this guy's track record not spoken loudly enough? At best, he is mediocre, other times poor.
One part of Benitez game has remained consistently high. The Blame Game. It was something he played well. Throughout his time at Liverpool he always looked to blame others for a poor performance. Always looking for scape goats.
He argued the case for total control on team matters, player purchase, player sales, the youth team, and more. When he finally got the controll he yearned for, Liverpool bombed. He guaranteed a top 4 finish for Liverpool last season, but could only manage 7th place and effectively sealed his fate. Benitez blamed it on the owners lack of funds. He left behind him a Liverpool team in a desperately poor state, from which they have not recovered.
I'm pleased he's gone. Looks like the Italians feel the same way.