x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Strength in depth eludes Inter

The Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho lamented his lack of options on the bench following his side's thrilling if unconvincing 4-3 win over Siena on Saturday.

The Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho lamented his lack of options on the bench following his side's thrilling if unconvincing 4-3 win over Siena on Saturday. The Serie A leaders were 3-2 down with two minutes left but a second free-kick by Wesley Sneijder and Walter Samuel's stoppage-time winner sent the San Siro wild with delight and put the champions 11 points clear. Injuries to a host of players, the loss of Cameroon's Samuel Eto'o to the African Cup of Nations and the sale of Patrick Vieira to Manchester City have ravaged Inter's squad, although Mourinho is not looking to sign new players.

"If we have a few injuries, it's a problem. I had kids on the bench. I had to throw them into the fire," said Mourinho. "I would prefer to have a bench which gives me solutions." Inter have barely missed Zlatan Ibrahimovic since his July move to Barcelona, but Saturday's game was one occasion where a big forward would have been useful. But Mourinho, who has signed striker Goran Pandev from Lazio this month, said he was fine sending defenders such as Samuel up front in such situations.

Forward Marko Arnautovic, on-loan from Twente Enschede, came on at half-time but has yet to impress Mourinho, whose defence looks a bigger problem with left-backs Cristian Chivu and Davide Santon both injured. "Technically we were lost, tactically we had great difficulty," Mourinho added. "Siena were better than us. They were calmer, had mobility, speed, they were good on the counter-attack. They didn't deserve to lose."

Mourinho's comments did little to soothe Siena coach Alberto Malesani, who was seething about the foul awarded for Sneijder's equalising free-kick. "I speak on behalf of all the little teams who don't deserve to lose because of such banal things. That was not a foul," he said. * Reuters