Inter don't deserve to be any higher than they are in the Serie A table following a disastrous start that has left them 17th, says midfielder Thiago Motta. I Nerazzurri have lost five and won only two of their first nine league games of the season, leaving them one place and one point off the relegation zone.
If they beat Lille at the San Siro in the UEFA Champions League tonight, they will have accrued more points in four matches in that competition than they have in the Scudetto race. And despite Inter complaining previously of the number of penalties that have been given against them, Motta says they're where they are because that's what they're worth right now.
"It's ugly but it's true unfortunately. Right now we're worth the eighth points we have in the league," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "I know it's annoying saying it but it's not fair to con the fans because maybe at the beginning of the season we already did that.
"It's us who haven't done well, it has nothing to do with the referees or anything else. And when that's the case, you've got to tell the truth. For what we've done so far we don't deserve any more. Theoretically, man by man, we're much better than that but what do outsiders see? Juventus, AC Milan and Napoli but also Udinese and Lazio and maybe some others are better than Inter."
Inter got off to a terrible start under Gian Piero Gasperini, losing four and drawing one of their first five games, including August's Italian Supercup. Gasperini paid for that with his job and although Inter have improved results under Caludio Ranieri, the turnaround has hardly been polar.
Motta says it would be wrong to blame Inter's problems on Gasperini. "Gasperini is part of history and I prefer not to add anything not least because he's a great coach and it was more our (the players') fault than his," said the Brazilian-born Italy midfielder. "The coaches are important but at the end of the day what counts are the players."
Now Motta is hoping Inter can continue their positive run in Europe to try to drag their league form along with it. A victory over Lille would go some way towards securing a berth in the knock-out stages. "Doing well against Lille would mean adding consistency to what we've done so far in the Champions League, because we've done well there, and then giving us a shove to kick on in the league. Because it's winning and continuing to win that gives you confidence."