Inter Milan coach Rafael Benitez looked ever closer to the exit door today after his president Massimo Moratti blasted the Spaniard for an outburst about the club. Having seen his side beat Congolese TP Mazembe 3-0 to win the FIFA Club World Cup, Benitez launched into a tirade against the powers that be at the Italian club.
The former Liverpool and Valencia boss accused his bosses of failing to support him in the transfer market and accused the players of taking their own decisions. But Moratti, who had been ambiguous in his support of Benitez leading up to the FIFA Club World Cup, said his coach had erred.
Asked if Benitez's quotes had ruined the party, Moratti replied: "No, for the moment no. They weren't suitable for the situation but for the moment the Inter fan is happy." And pressed on the Spaniard's future, Moratti added: "I'm not going to talk about Benitez for the moment."
However, the speculation in Italy is that Benitez's time is up and his attack on the Inter hierarchy may just have made their minds up. What was unprecedented is that Benitez had always towed the party line before yesterday's victory and had never spoken out against his bosses.
"Now we will have a calmer period but to go forward we need total support, if we get that we can improve," said Benitez. "By support I mean first and foremost in the transfer market. I've spoken to Moratti and he knows what about.
"I've always done my job, right from the beginning and I need to have control of the players and what they do. If I have this support, which you should always have and should be total, otherwise you're always blaming someone and the team doesn't improve."
And Benitez suggested that if he didn't get that support, then he would even be prepared to walk away from the club.
"I deserve respect. I've shouldered all the blows and all the responsabilities but in August the club promised me three players but no-one arrived," fumed Benitez. "Now there are three roads: either the club starts a project and buys four players right now in January or we continue like this with the coach who is the only person to blame or otherwise the president speaks to my agent and we find a solution.
"Last year Moratti spent €80m on five players, all first choice, but this year with a new coach he's spent nothing. I don't know why, maybe there was something projected and then it didn't happen or to balance the books or for some other reason. After the summer I was 100 per cent disappointed with the transfer market."
Players not cooperating
Benitez also hit out at the players and suggested he did not control their training routines. "I want to know what the players are doing. These lads have done no gym work for two years and to compensate for this athletic work they go (to the gym without my knowing), and they hide problems and injuries."
Benitez has been under fire this season after a series of poor results, exacerbated by the fact this same squad of players won the treble last season under Jose Mourinho.
They dropped to seventh in Serie A last weekend while they were away on FIFA Club World Cup duty and they also failed to win their UEFA Champions League group, and the second round draw has left them with a challenging tie, pairing them with Bayern Munich.