Javier Zanetti is sure FC Internazionale Milano's shaky form is just down to a long injury list, saying: "When most of the players were fit, everyone said we were better than last season."
Article top media content
FC Internazionale Milano go into their UEFA Champions League home game against FC Twente with the weight of the world on their shoulders. Beset by injuries, the European champions are without a win in five competitive games.
However, captain Javier Zanetti is certain the barren spell is not evidence of any deeper troubles for Rafael Benítez's side, explaining: "When most of the players were fit, everybody said we were even better than last season. Now they say we are playing badly, worse than last season, but if you look at our injury list, we are missing a lot of men, most of them key players."
Inter have slipped to sixth in Serie A, picking up just two points from four league games since their last Group A encounter. Walter Samuel (knee ligaments), Cristian Chivu (groin), Diego Milito and goalkeeper Júlio César (both thigh) are among the absentees ahead of the Twente tie, where victory would guarantee the Nerazzurri's progress. "It is just a tough time for us," shrugged Zanetti. "We've been unlucky; we are not at our best, but we're looking ahead and we understand that the criticism is normal in the circumstances."
The 37-year-old, Massimo Moratti's first signing when he became Inter president in 1995, has gone through enough highs and lows during his 15 years at the club to know this storm will pass. "These things happen, and in some of those games we deserved more," he said. "In football, things can change fast, and we are doing our best to turn it around and play with the passion that Moratti wants from us."
The versatile defender and midfielder has worked with 14 different coaches during his time at Inter, and rates Benítez – a summer replacement for José Mourinho – despite the club's recent results. "You cannot judge Benítez from what we have seen lately," he said. "You have to wait until he has all the players back. We want to achieve something good with him.
"First of all, though, we want to win tomorrow," added Zanetti, who led his side to a 2-2 draw in Enschede on Matchday 1. "We know that Twente can play well and that's why we had a tough first game against them, so we have to pay attention. We have to keep calm, and believe that things can change, starting from tomorrow; we will do what we can to make it happen."