Unbeaten Hodgson under fire

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The Independent Online
Internazionale have yet to lose a game this season, but that has not stopped the Italian media criticising Roy Hodgson, their English coach.

Inter are third in Serie A, two points behind the leaders Juventus and one point behind their city rivals Milan, and they are still on course in both the Uefa and Italian Cups.

Although Inter have picked up points and results, their overall standard of play has been far from impressive, and this has disappointed the club's owner, Massimo Moratti.

Last week Inter took a 3-0 lead into the second leg of their Uefa Cup tie against the modest French side Guingamp. They appeared to take things easy in a 1-1 home draw at the San Siro, prompting Moratti's anger.

He said: "I'm most disappointed. This is not the way to do things. These gentlemen [the Inter players] ought to show more respect both for the fans and the game itself."

Then, after a 1-1 away draw with Atalanta in the league on Sunday, Moratti expressed his disappointment with the match, in which Atalanta equalised in the 86th minute. "This was a game that we ought not to have thrown away," he said.

Italian newspapers have suggested that Moratti believes Hodgson should take a tougher line with his players. The Milan-based daily sports newspaper Gazzetta Dello Sport said: "It is up to Hodgson to sort things out... the club expects him to be a bit more of a sergeant-major with the players."

Such comments in the Italian press are not new. Even before the season began, Gazzetta Dello Sport said: "A problem does exist and Hodgson is the problem. Will he prove capable of leading the potentially great side created for him by President Moratti?"

Hodgson, however, is defended by his assistant, the former Inter and Italy defender Giacinto Facchetti.

"This year we've made a lot of changes, and of all the big names we're the one with most room for improvement, but you need time," Facchetti said.

During the summer, Inter signed the Dutch midfielder Aron Winter, the Frenchmen Youri Djorkaeff and Jocelyn Angloma, the Chilean striker Ivan Zamorano and the Swiss midfielder Ciriaco Sforza. They joined a squad which already contained Paul Ince and the Argentine Javier Zanetti.

Before the start of the season, Hodgson acknowledged that his biggest difficulty would be to blend so many different talents. He said: "The job of coaching, being a good coach, is to take a bunch of individuals and make them into a team. That's my task."

Although Hodgson is not thought to be in any danger of imminent dismissal, a number of names have been suggested as future coaches of Inter, including Arrigo Sacchi, the coach of the national side, Daniel Passarella, the Argentina coach, and Fabio Capello, who is in charge at Real Madrid.

n Bruno N'Gotty, the French international midfielder who was injured during Paris St Germain's 3-0 victory over Vaduz in the European Cup-Winners' Cup last week, will be out of action for up to a month, club doctors said yesterday. N'Gotty has a torn right calf muscle and has been forced to withdraw from the French squad to play Turkey next week.

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