The pressure could tell on Inter boss Walter Mazzarri if he isn't careful
Inter Milan suffered another defeat at the weekend, Harry De Cosemo looks at what dangers this could pose for the manager.
In Milan, it is decided by the flip of a coin. Inter travelled to Fiorentina at the weekend and they were still licking their wounds after the humiliation of a 4-1 home defeat to Caligari. Their city rivals, meanwhile, looked to continue their quietly impressive start under new manager Pippo Inzaghi with a victory over Chievo. For the past year the talk has been of the implosions in the red corner of the City, but nowadays it seems crisis is a turn-taking mechanism.
Walter Mazzarri's side were again humbled in Florence at the Stadio Artemio Franchi. They lost 3-0 to a side without their talismanic striker Giuseppe Rossi and currently find themselves stuck in 10th place in Serie A. Inzaghi, though, led the Rossoneri to a 2-0 victory at the San Siro and now sit in fifth..
It may only be six games into the season and these last two defeats are the only ones in the league this season, but for a club like the Nerazzurri that is all it takes for alarm bells to start ringing. Mazzarri has never been fully trusted by the Interisti having not been the first choice to replace Andrea Stramaccioni at the beginning of last season. He faces his old side Napoli at the San Siro after the international break under a heap of pressure.
Of course he isn't the only one to have struggled in the spotlight at Inter, his opposite number next time round Rafa Benitez lasted half a season after replacing Jose Mourinho in the summer of 2010. He has also been feeling a little hot under the collar this campaign at Napoli, having only rekindled a bit of form in the past two matches after a string of poor results that saw them fall at the qualification stage of the Champions League at the hands of Athletic Bilbao.
In truth, the Inter job has been something of a poisoned chalice since Mourinho walked the streets. Under previous ownership, the succession plan was handled appallingly, with a string of managers trying and failing to repeat the Special One's achievements, which included an Italian side's first ever treble and Inter's first European Cup success since the 1960's.
The team slipped further away from that with every passing manager, and it was the final straw when Mazzarri was drafted in to clean up Stramaccioni's mess. His predecessor was a coaching novice, but the gamble backfired and Mazzarri arrived at the club after a ninth placed finish in the 2012/13 season.
It wasn't until just last summer when the ghost of Mourinho's team, that had in some ways become more of a hindrance than a help since their triumph, was finally eradicated when the last remaining members, Esteban Cambiasso, Diego Milito and the long standing captain Javier Zanetti all departed.
But Mazzarri perhaps showed a lack of understanding of the magnitude of these players, particularly Zanetti who was bringing his 19 year association with the club to an end by retiring, when in the 1-0 Milan derby victory at the towards the end of the season. He didn't bring on Zanetti as a substitute and allow him to have one final taste of the rivalry. It was something he was heavily criticised for.
But to his credit, he led Inter to fifth place last season and a return to European competition in the Europa League. There was real positivity in the summer and with owner Erick Thohir's backing, Mazzarri brought in the likes of Dani Osvaldo on loan from Southampton and Nemanja Vidic on a free transfer from Manchester United. 20-year-old Croatian attacking midfielder Mateo Kovacic has grown into the team since filling the void left by Wesley Sneijder, who left for Galatasary in January last year, when he arrived from Dinamo Zagreb just 11 days later.
However, the last two disastrous results have put the spotlight firmly back on Walter Mazzarri, and he has some questions to answer. Things are not yet critical, but the defending during the last two games has been very poor and those who think that he lacks the pedigree to get Inter back where they should be are beginning to speak up again.
If it gets to the point where his position becomes untenable, then a replacement must be found. Jose Mourinho's legendary tenure at the helm was built on the foundations laid by Roberto Mancini, who won three Scudetti, two Coppa Italias and two Italian Super Cups while in charge of the club between 2004 and 2008. He is also currently available after leaving Galatasary at the end of last season and could be the man to reinvigorate his former club.
Mancini could be exactly what the club needs. His disciplinarian management style may shake up the team and having someone who is proven with an air of success and knows the club seems to be the perfect fit.
The international break has come at the perfect time for Mazzarri, who needs time to allow the pressure to die down around his confidence-stricken side. However, if things don't pick up soon, the Nerazzurri may have a question to answer: Heads or tails?