This week we spoke to Internazionale blog Serpents of Madonnina to get the lowdown on Southampton's opponents on Thursday evening in the Europa League.
Please read, like, share and, most importantly, enjoy this week's edition of INSIDE INFO - the original (we're looking at you, www.southamptonfc.co.uk) Saints column which gets the opposition's views ahead of their match against our beloved Southampton.
St. Mary's Musings: What did you make of the game two weeks ago?
Serpents of Madonnina: The game two weeks ago panned out pretty much as I expected, albeit the result came as a surprise. Southampton were much more composed in the first half as we demonstrated just why we'd lost both of our opening Europa League games, but they weren't able to find the goal they would have deserved and allowed us to come back into proceedings in the second half, taking advantage of a flash of brilliance from one of our attacking players to score.
The result was all that counted on this occasion given how the group table looked and the team at least put their bodies on the line to protect the lead, but overall the performance was not viewed positively in Italy and thus it did little to strengthen Frank de Boer's position (and sure enough, he was dismissed on Tuesday.)
SMM: How has Inter's league form been since the win over Saints?
SoM: Since the Saints match we've lost two away games and won one at home, which have plunged us even further into crisis in Serie A and almost taken us out of the running for Champions League qualification, which was our huge indispensable objective for this season.
Three days after we beat you we turned in one of the worst performances in the club's long and illustrious history against Atalanta, and lost with full merit, before we beat Torino to give De Boer a stay of execution and then lose at Sampdoria to seal his fate. If we were a mess a fortnight ago then I don't know what you'd call the chaos we've descended into now, which makes tonight's game even more important than the one two weeks ago - if we lose this our season could quite possibly be over as early as November.
SMM: How do you rate Inter's chances now in the Europa League? The group is looking awfully tight...
SoM: The win at San Siro was absolutely vital for us to keep ourselves in with a chance of progressing, but we still have a huge amount of work to do if we're to repair the damage we caused ourselves in the first two games. Puel said yesterday in his press conference that 10 points will be enough to progress and I agree totally with that, which means that you need 6 points from the next three games and we need 7.
We're capable of doing that, but this team is in such a state that I am not at all confident we will - but as I said before the home game, we still have the players to turn in a good performance. I think we're more likely to go out than go through as things stand, but so much will hinge on tonight's game - especially for Inter.
SMM: Frank de Boer got sacked. What are your thoughts and could you shed any light on the man taking his place on Thursday?
SoM: My thoughts are the same as most Inter supporters. It's proof that this club has absolutely no idea what it's doing and didn't appreciate the lunacy of appointing an overseas manager with no Serie A experience less than a fortnight before the season began, while they are also indulging the players who had seemingly given up on De Boer a month or so ago. The fact that Javier Zanetti and Piero Ausilio went in to them on Tuesday to give the squad a telling off and remind them of their responsibilities - with the coach having already been sacked - tells you a lot about the whole force.
De Boer was the umpteenth coach left on his own at Inter and has been treated horrifically, both by the club and the Italian media as a whole, so he has the full respect of all Interisti despite having made a lot of mistakes himself in the last two months. As for the man who's stepping in on Thursday, Stefano Vecchi is our Primavera (youth team) coach who has enjoyed fabulous success with Inter's youngsters over the last couple of years, winning the Coppa Italia last season and developing several interesting talents in the process. He's very highly thought of at the club, although there's no chance of him being appointed on a permanent basis and I don't expect him to conjure up anything revolutionary for this match. He might at least be respected more by the players though.
SMM: What can we expect of an Inter side playing away in Europe?
SoM: Inter sides playing away full stop has been a bit of a disaster in 2016. In the 20 games we've played on the road in all competitions our record is 5 wins, 3 draws and 12 defeats, so there's reason to believe we'll see a similar Inter to the one that played at San Siro two weeks back. Having said that we have a lot of international experience in the team so they shouldn't in theory by overawed by St Mary's, and there's also to consider the fact that once again we really have to win. We'll probably be slightly less open under Vecchi than we were under De Boer, so we may concede less chances, but he won't have had much time to change anything drastic.
SMM: Finally, what is your prediction for the game?
SoM: I think perhaps a draw would be a logical outcome from this match, although I wouldn't be surprised if either side won because it seems an evenly-matched affair. The problem with Inter is that you have no idea what team is going to turn up on any given day, even more so at this chaotic moment in time, which makes predictions very difficult. We're one of the most unpredictable teams and clubs in the whole of Europe.