Chi­nese own­ers and sacked boss un­der-fire from fans

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE -

Now that Frank de Boer has been fired, In­ter Mi­lan fans are de­bat­ing who was more re­spon­si­ble for the squad’s poor start to the sea­son: the Dutch man­ager or the club’s new Chi­nese own­ers.

While De Boer never re­ally showed a com­plete un­der­stand­ing of Ital­ian foot­ball tac­tics in his 84 days in charge, more blame is be­ing heaped on the re­tail gi­ant Sun­ing, which took con­trol of 70 per cent of In­ter in June.

“Even an ex­tra­or­di­nary coach can’t do great things with­out the club. You can’t con­trol a foot­ball squad from Jakarta, Bei­jing or Nan­jing,” said Marco Tronchetti Provera, the CEO of In­ter’s chief spon­sor Pirelli.

“There’s been a long line of mis­takes. This is a prob­lem that should have been re­solved a while ago.”

De Boer was fired on Tues­day af­ter pro­duc­ing only five wins, seven losses and two draws in 14 matches in all com­pe­ti­tions — leav­ing the club in 12th place in Serie A and also strug­gling in the Europa League. Many In­ter fans had lost pa­tience with the Dutch­man and were call­ing for a change.

De Boer was hired less than two weeks be­fore the sea­son be­gan fol­low­ing the un­ex­pected res­ig­na­tion of Roberto Mancini, who re­port­edly wanted more con­trol over the trans­fer mar­ket and clashed with Sun­ing.

Play­ers who thrived un­der Mancini strug­gled un­der De Boer.

Felipe Melo has ap­peared in just two of 11 Serie A matches. Fel­low mid­fielder Ge­of­frey Kon­dog­bia lost his place in the start­ing lineup af­ter get­ting sub­sti­tuted 28 min­utes into a 1-1 draw with Bologna be­cause he “wasn’t lis­ten­ing” to De Boer’s in­struc­tions.

Gabriel Bar­bosa, the promis­ing Brazil­ian for­ward who In­ter signed in late Au­gust amid great fan­fare - even though it was un­clear if De Boer wanted him - ap­peared for just 21 min­utes against Bologna and hasn’t played since.

Mauro Icardi, the high­scor­ing In­ter cap­tain, was widely ridiculed by the club’s hard­core “ul­tra” fans af­ter re­count­ing a clash with the sup­port­ers in his au­to­bi­og­ra­phy.

The lone high­light of De Boer’s cam­paign was a 2-1 win over Ju­ven­tus - sand­wiched be­tween em­bar­rass­ing Europa League losses to Hapoel Beer-Sheva and Sparta Prague, matches in which In­ter were outscored 5-1.

“It’s too bad it ended like this,” De Boer said on Twit­ter. “This task re­quired more time to move for­ward.”

Youth team coach, Ste­fano Vec­chi, was given tem­po­rary con­trol of the team for the game against Southamp­ton tonight (12.05am Fri­day UAE time).

IN­TER-ESTING: There is a lot of spec­u­la­tion of who will re­place Frank de Boer

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