Benitez in last chance saloon ahead of Twente
Rafael Benitez faces a must-win game against Champions League group rivals FC Twente on Wednesday to save his Inter Milan career, if the Italian media are to be believed.sports Updated: Nov 23, 2010 08:51 IST
Rafael Benitez faces a must-win game against Champions League group rivals FC Twente on Wednesday to save his Inter Milan career, if the Italian media are to be believed.
Inter were beaten 2-1 at Chievo on Sunday to lie nine points adrift of the Serie A summit and the word on the rumour-mill is that anything other than a victory against the Dutch champions will spell the end of Benitez's short tenure.
The Italian champions are well placed in their Champions League group, trailing leaders Tottenham only on head-to-head record.
But they only lead Twente by two points and failure to win on Wednesday could leave them needing a win away to Werder Bremen in their final group game to keep the defence of their title alive.
That means the pressure is on Benitez and his injury-hit squad and club president Massimo Moratti has called for the team to show more anger against Twente.
"They need to understand that Wednesday's game is very important," he said.
"Tired or not they absolutely need to play a match with a lot of anger because otherwise they won't get anywhere."
If that was a dig at Benitez then Moratti moved to disguise it by claiming the Spaniard still has his trust: "Yes he has this but we hope to get a good result which is pretty important."
But when pressed on whether or not his coach was right in believing that he has 100 percent backing from the president, Moratti was non commital.
"It gives me pleasure that he has this feeling given that the team and the club have never shown that he doesn't have their trust."
Moratti, however, also admitted to being annoyed by the defeat to Chievo, although he blamed injuries for Inter's poor form.
"It's annoying, it's never nice (to lose) because you realise that you're further behind," he said.
"You realise that the position you're in is bad in terms of the number of points.
"But the reasons are those that we knew of beforehand, that is the many injuries and it's impossible to change something, to be more vivacious.
"And yet we have more commitments and we have to continue to go forward and look to respond, both in the league but even more so in the cup."
Injuries is an excuse that has been brought up a lot this season by Inter and captain Javier Zanetti said it was unfair to judge the team in their current state.
"We've shown on more than one occasion that we have character," he said.
"But to judge this team you have to judge us when we're at full strength.
"That's not an excuse but that's the way it is."
Inter won't be at full strength on Wednesday with the likes of Diego Milito, Walter Samuel, Maicon, Muntari Sulley and Coutinho all injured and they need to start winning despite their depleted resources or they could face elimination from this competition.
If there is a silver lining to the clouds gathering over their heads then it is that Twente themselves have been struggling recently, losing two in a row in the league to fall from top spot.
What is perhaps most worrying for Twente is that both times they squandered 1-0 leads to go down 2-1, although at home to AZ Alkmaar at the weekend they did have to play an hour with a numerical disadvantage.
Despite competing in the Champions League for the first time, they have acquitted themselves admirably.
They began with a 2-2 draw at home to Inter in a game they could easily have won and then took four points off Bremen, including winning 2-0 away.
But Twente know that defeat will almost certainly end their interest in the competition and even a draw will make qualification a tricky prospect as they will need to then beat Tottenham at home and hope Bremen do them a favour against Inter.