Having pointed out that United’s treble in ’99 could have gone so many ways and involved not deservedly beating anyone top notch it’s probably worth pointing out that Inter’s was a purer triumph. They probably beat the 2 best teams in Europe (Chelsea home and away). Not to mention the champions of Germany in the final – thoroughly deserving their win.
Indeed from the knock out stages of the European Cup they did have some luck (who does not) but they were only really out played once after what may have been an unjust sending off – then they battled to hold the score to one off no possession (almost literally).
To gripe they barely won the Italian title scrambling a 4-3 over Chievo in the penultimate week rather ignores that it’s hard to know what say Chelsea beat in England or Barcelona in a Spanish league with 2 teams with record points. Chelsea won by 1 point and grabbed the FA Cup do they get either if they had to try to play say 5 more European ties? 86 points in a Premier season where 3 clubs had 30 or less is low by recent standards – especially as they had to play right to last weekend.
For Inter it was 13 games of European football, all those 2 legged cup games and hold off Roma over 38 games. Especially noteworthy when the chairman’s target was not those other competitions.
Indeed suggesting they might not be one of the top 4 sides in Europe (as I did) may not be sustainable as it’s unclear after watching Arsenal be so outclassed by Barca that the 6-3 aggregate loss was extremely flattering to Arsenal how good is the English league? You think 10 Inter players could not hold out against Bavarian for 30 minutes as United failed to do? Think Inter give away the bad goals United did in both legs?
It’ll be interesting how Inter a side expensively gathered for this season progress as they are not that young but then again neither are parts of Chelsea and Man United. In Spain it was such a turkey shoot that Madrid were able to win 18 of 19 and push arguably a much superior Barcelona to the last game – they were 28 clear of the 3rd drawing their last game. Arguably Inter are a team who will not miss one or two elements as well unlike what injuries could do to Madrid, Barcelona and United.
Losing your coach off such a year may seem almost perverse but some people need to move on. After the last 3 full season stint Mourinho left with the team if not in free fall considerably weaker than 12 months previously with the most powerful squad in Europe down to 10 or so players and filler. Other than that Mourinho has left every club bar Chelsea prior to a likely fall (due to where he took them to a large degree) .
- Benfica he resigned after 9 games after a fit of pique by the President who would not extend him (some regrets there!).
- União de Leiria he took them to the never before dreamed of heights of 5th.
- Porto’s 2.5 years were just sensational even if as this year his needs meant he was not even there for the victory parade.
Chelsea maybe only needed a little step in the Premiership but his tactics turned it into an August to May title fight rather than get in position and surge from January. Also despite personal mistakes in games against Liverpool and Barcelona his Chelsea were arguably the best side in Europe for 2 years. A far more cohesive unit for 2 years than he took over.
With Madrid and Barcelona likely to slug it out even more next year. Madrid might improve even without a coaching change as they bed in and some rumours suggest off load the position less entertainer Kaka. Despite not getting headlines from the UK media who count trophies as marks of everyone’s individual achievement Ronaldo was pretty damn sensational. In any other year I can recall the player of the world again.
The point is Inter could well slug it out again at the top table and at home. What it will say about their old or new coach if they regress (assuming the unpredicatable one leaves) will probably depend on if you are ambivalent like me or a worshipper.