Three consecutive defeats has Inter Milan fans worried that we are in the midst of another Nerazzurri mid-season collapse.
Top of Serie A and unbeaten until only two weeks ago, Inter have dropped to third place and find themselves five points adrift of leaders Napoli after losing to mid-table sides Udinese and Sassuolo in their past two league games.
More worrying is that since putting five goals past Chievo at the start of the month, Inter have managed only one goal in their past five games in all competitions.
A mid-season collapse has unfortunately became a common feature of an Inter season in recent years. Two seasons ago Inter won their first five league games of the season and led the table going into the winter break under Roberto Mancini.
But a post-Christmas slump saw them finish fourth, one place below the Champions League places, and Mancini was let go that following August.
Inter made a terrible start to the season last year, but a run of seven wins in a row lifted them to fourth by the end of January and within touching distance of Champions League qualification. However, another mid-season slump left them seventh in the table, failing even to qualify for the Europa League.
Luciano Spalletti, the tenth Inter coach since Jose Mourinho left at the end of his treble-winning season, said that his team has lost some of its confidence in recent weeks.
”We lost a bit of confidence,“ he said after Wednesday’s extra-time defeat.
”We did things with less courage and we didn’t manage to make the most of our qualities.
“We need to shift our perspective from a psychological point of view … We are not lacking in quality. However, things become difficult if you’re just waiting for someone to come in and resolve a situation. We must resolve it for ourselves.”
Inter end up 2017 at home to free-scoring Lazio on Saturday, knowing that another slip up would leave them only one point ahead of their fifth-placed opponents heading into the new year.
“This squad has the potential to compete in any match and win against any opponent,“ Spalletti said.
”However, we must be aware of our own ability and use this at all times.
“Sometimes, we are not completely capable of showing what we can do.”
So is this just a bad patch of form that Inter is in, or are these loses a sign of a pending collapse?