Under-pressure Inter coach Rafael Benitez has attempted to play down the club’s latest defeat by insisting they are concentrating on the Club World Cup.
FIFA’s annual competition of continental champions begins on Wednesday as Al Wahda take on Hekari United. Inter will enter the competition at the semi-final stage on December 15 against one of those two sides or Seongnam Ilhwa.
But Inter have been in poor form recently, with Tuesday’s 3-0 loss to Werder Bremen in Germany their latest setback, yet Benitez claims the result was meaningless as they had already qualified for the knockout stages.
Inter have lost their last two matches against Bremen and Lazio, and have won only two of their last nine fixtures, at home to FC Twente and Parma, in all competitions.
The Serie A champions have now slumped to fifth in the table, already ten points behind league leaders Milan and four points adrift of Napoli in the final Champions League place.
Club president Massimo Moratti stressed the need to not show a “poor image” in a European game, but Benitez said: “Our aim is clear – it’s the Club World Cup. We saw that was the case against Werder.
“We played the game having already qualified for the next round. The match that was truly important was the one that we won at home to Twente [two weeks ago]. I played the youngsters at Werder and I believe that was the positive aspect of the game as we didn’t want to risk losing a player to injury.
“Inter’s mentality will change. The players that are injured will return to play and it will be different.
“I don’t believe my future depends on that (Club World Cup). I hope the team does well as a team, then the individual quality may help but what is important is the team.”