ROME, Italy, September 21 – Inter Milan coach Gian Piero Gasperini’s position became increasingly untenable on Tuesday as the Serie A giants’ winless run continued with a shock 3-1 defeat at promoted Novara.
Inter have not won away in five games this season putting increasing pressure on Gasperini as the humiliation against Novara, returning to Serie A after 55 years, follows last week’s home loss to outsiders Trabzonspor in the Champions Legaue.
Inter are languishing in 17th position with just one point from three games.
Gasperini’s position looks even weaker after Ansa reported that Inter president Massimo Moratti gave a less than supportive reply to a question by journalists after the match as to whether the coach had control over the team.
“It doesn’t seem that way to me, no, but lets see tomorrow.”
Gasperini, though, was insistent he would battle through.
“We played really badly,” he said.
“But I believe in what I am doing, which has given me a lot of happiness before this, it is a difficult period we are going through, but I must come out of this stronger and more resolute.
“We have to be a bit more humble, when we tried to go on the offensive we found ourselves in trouble.
“We have succeeded in playing like that in other matches. But this evening it is clear, it did not work, and that goes beyond just tactics.”
Marco Rigoni’s double lifted Novara to their first win of the season and provisional fifth place.
Inter danger man Giampaolo Pazzini started on the bench but was brought on by Gasperini at half time in place of an uninspiring Diego Forlan after Riccardo Meggiorini had put the hosts ahead after 38 minutes.
Pazzini had Inter’s best chance of the night, a shot at goal on 61 minutes, but it went wide.
Inter’s defence were made to work by the pairing of Meggiorini and Andrea Mazzarini with the latter missing a chance for a second goal after 53 minutes.
Japanese striker Takayuki Morimoto, who caused endless headaches for Inter defender Andrea Ranocchia all evening, finally obtained a penalty for his side which Marco Rigoni transformed four minutes from time.
And in a late scramble for goal Esteban Cambiasso reduced the deficit for the visitors with a minute to go before Rigoni got his second one minute into time added on.
Leaders Napoli, who beat AC Milan thanks to a Edinson Cavani hattrick at the weekend, travel to Chievo on Wednesday as second-placed Juventus host Bologna who are looking for their first points.
AC Milan host third-placed Udinese as AS Roma look for their first win under Luis Enrique on Thursday against promoted Siena.
In Spain, A Giuseppe Rossi strike helped Villarreal to their first win of the La Liga season on Tuesday as they beat Mallorca 2-0 and finally clicking into gear after a disappointing start to the season.
Villarreal had only picked up one point ahead of the game and were beaten at home by Bayern Munich in the Champions League but they responded against Mallorca with a far more assured display.
Nilmar burst through on goal in the first minute but he over-ran the ball and then minutes later Rossi was a lot more clinical as he slipped the ball over the keeper Dudu Aouate to give the home side the lead.
Villarreal were in charge and Mallorca were defending deeply. Ruben Cani had a shot saved by Aouate before half time and then after the break Nilmar did find the back of the net after being set up by Borja Valero.
Earlier Sevilla missed the chance to take provisional top spot but nevertheless maintained their unbeaten run as they hung on for a 0-0 draw at Osasuna.
The hosts had plenty to prove after their 8-0 thrashing by Barcelona at the weekend and attacked from the outset with Roland Lamah in particular causing plenty of problems for Sevilla who have their sights on a Champions League place this season.
Osasuna were torn apart at the Nou Camp on Saturday night and while this was a very different display they got no reward for their impressive attacking display.
Juan Nino had excellent chances in both halves while Sevilla also survived a penalty claim when Diego Perotti appeared to handle the ball in the area.
Sevilla though could have stolen the points when Jesus Navas was denied from point blank range by keeper Andres Fernandez mid-way through the second half.
Sevilla move up to third with eight points from four games, one point behind leaders Valencia and Real Betis.
Real Sociedad, meanwhile, move up to fifth after beating Granada 1-0 in slightly fortuitous circumstances with a Daniel Estrada cross catching out the Granada keeper Roberto Fernandez who had come off his line.
Reigning domestic and European champions Barcelona face Valencia, who have won their three opening matches, and meet in Wednesday’s top of the table clash.
Real Betis are another side with a 100 percent record and they meet Zaragoza while Real Madrid, who dropped their first points at the weekend with a surprise 1-0 defeat away to Levante, travel to Racing Santander.