Rafa Benitez says that the reason’s for Inter’s poor start to the season was because of injuries to key players and a lack of support from Inter’s bosses and not because of him.
In an interview with with Spanish daily Marca, Benitez complained about the lack of new signings to reinforce Inter’s injury-ravaged squad, and insisted the constant flow of training-ground injuries were not the fault of his staff.
“At first we were all happy. But injuries changed everything – the choice of players available and the internal dynamics of the squad. I want to show some statistics based on the injuries so I am not misunderstood: 80 per cent of those injured had the same or similar injuries in the previous two years. Myself and my staff did not have control over medical issues or the work of the club medic and his athletic coach. We did not follow therapies or recoveries and, a month after we left Inter, there were eight muscular injuries.”
Benitez also insists that he was not backed in the transfer market, and that Inter’s poor start to the season was because new players were not brought in during the summer.
“Why didn’t we strengthen in the summer? I was surprised too. In August we discussed ways to improve the team. I put everything in writing, but then nothing happened. Massimo Moratti knew things were difficult. Some players performed, and others didn’t. He knew things were not going well, but there were no conditions to carry on.”
The muscle injuries that Inter suffered under Rafa was much higher than in previous years. Now whether that is because the squad aged, the cumlative effects of challenging for three trophies last season, or the impact of the World Cup this summer, we will never know.
As for the transfer market, Benitez inherited a squad that was Champions of Europe. They needed only a couple of players, not wholesale changes. The players that Inter were linked with this summer, Javier Mascherano and Dirk Kuyt, carried price tags that were much higher than Inter wanted to play.
It could well be that the reason that Inter did not add players this summer was a fundamental difference between Benitez on one side and Moratti and Marco Branca on the other, about the kind of player that Inter needed. Inter added 5 new player in the January transfer window, so obviously the club had the money to sign players.
Rafa has now been fired from two of Europe’s biggest clubs in the last 12 months. He will probably get one more chance to coach at the highest level again, but it will take a brave chairman to hire the machiavellian Spaniard.