Inter were jeered off the pitch by their own fans at the San Siro on Friday after their latest humiliation, a 3-0 defeat to lowly Bologna.
This defeat, their fifth in six winless games and also the fifth time in that period they have failed to score, came hot on the heels of a home defeat to rock-bottom Novara Calcio.
Over those six games, Inter have conceded 15 goals, scoring just four times.
This run, which included a Cup defeat to Napoli, has badly hit their Champions League chances, leaving them down in sixth and six points behind third-placed SS Lazio, who have played a game less.
To make matters worse they were also leapfrogged by Napoli, who won 3-0 at Fiorentina.
Veteran Marco di Vaio scored a first half brace within 60 seconds and Robert Acquafresca added insult to injury late on.
It was no less than Inter deserved for another performance devoid of confidence or invention in the final third.
However, what really cost them, particularly in view of under-fire coach Claudio Ranieri’s pre-match assertion that they must stop conceding goals, was how catastrophic their defending was.
“We’re not playing to our potential and we’re going through a particular moment, we must take responsibility,” Ranieri said. “I apologize to the president and to the fans. While it was 2-0 we tried, we pushed, but everything fell apart with the third.”
“There’s bitterness, this is the third [defeat in a row]. In several games the first chance they get, they score,” he said. “In one minute they scored twice. We must grit our teeth, like I said yesterday, we’re playing with 10kg on our backs. We expected a tough game, but not like this.”
Inter started in total control of this match, but Bologna goalkeeper Jean-Francois Gillet denied Maicon and Diego Forlan.
And suddenly Inter went into meltdown as di Vaio scored twice within a minute from defensive errors.
In the 37th minute, Inter’s entire defense got drawn to their right as Bologna attacked down that side only for Diego Perez to pick out di Vaio unmarked at the back post.
The forward cooly cut inside Yuto Nagatomo’s desperate last-ditched sliding tackle and then shot home.
And a minute later Andrea Ranocchia switched off when taking down a long ball on his chest, allowing di Vaio to steal the ball from him and go on to finish calmly.
Five minutes from time, Ranocchia was again guilty of weak defending leaving Nagatomo with a one-on-two and Acquafresca surged past him before finishing low to Julio Cesar’s right.
Edinson Cavani was the two-goal hero, while Ezequiel Lavezzi added the injury-time cherry on the cake to give Napoli the perfect preparation for their Champions League clash against Chelsea on Tuesday.
“Having seen this game, this is the right path and the right attitude that we must have against Chelsea,” Cavani said. “It will be tough but we’re in good shape. Nothing is sure in football and that’s why we don’t have an advantage, anything can happen. What matters is playing with the same attitude as we had tonight.”
Napoli were off to a dream start after just three mintues as Marek Hamsik played in Cavani, who fired home.
And they should have had a second when Christian Maggio rose unmarked to meet a corner, but his header crashed back off the bar.
It was not all one-way traffic as Cesare Natali rose to meet a corner at the other end only to hit the outside of the post with his header.