Inter Milan players to blame as well as Frank De Boer - David Santon
Inter Milan full-back Davide Santon has backed under-fire coach Frank De Boer, saying that he is doing a good job, and that the players must take responsibility for the club's poor form too.
A 1-0 defeat at Sampdoria has increased the pressure on the Dutchman, whose future was already hanging in the balance before a Mauri Icardi brace earned him a stay of execution with a 2-1 win over Torino in midweek.
It is rumoured that the Nerazzurri have already decided to part ways with De Boer, although they are unsure about the timing of the decision. The coach, who replaced Roberto Mancini just a fortnight before the start of the season, may still be in charge for the Europa League trip to Southampton on Thursday and Inter's home game with Crotone next weekend before making way at the start of the international break.
Santon believes he should be given more time, though, having impressed him during their three months together.
"I think he's a very well prepared coach, but it's the club's decision," Santon, who was on the verge of leaving Inter during the summer before De Boer arrived and picked him regularly in his starting XI, said. "I think that he's a coach who is always giving his best and he's helping us a great deal, but in the end it is we the players who take to the field.
"We need to be more of a squad and pick up points in games like these in which we have lots of chances. We're conceding too easily and we need to improve this. If we had scored a goal, we would be here talking about a different game, but instead we go home with zero points so we've just got to roll our sleeves up."
Sunday's 1-0 defeat leaves Inter in 11th place, eight points behind the top three, but Santon still believes there is enough time to turn things around.
"Yes, I think we can [still qualify for the Champions League]," he told TMW Radio. "Juventus last season were an example -- they had a difficult start but they still won the Scudetto. We're having difficulties, but I still believe in the Champions League.
"It's a difficult moment -- maybe the hardest as an Inter player for me. We need to react and we need to do this all together, starting from tomorrow, analysing what we got wrong today. On Thursday, our Europa League future is on the line."
Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.