Nemanja Vidic is nothing short of a Manchester United legend, but his tenure thus far at Inter would be best described as something of a nightmare.
Getting sent off in his Serie A debut now looks to have been an indicator of what was to come for the Serbian, who has struggled mightily in Italy.
He made a fatal error upon returning from suspension as Inter settled for a draw with Palermo, whilst limp performances against Inter and Fiorentina saw the Nerazzurri routed.
And Vidic’s performance at the weekend against Napoli only furthered doubts about his suitability to continue on at the top level.
The 33-year-old’s errant clearance late on allowed Jose Callejon to net for the Partenopei, causing Inter to need to fight back to earn a point in the final ten minutes.
But Inter boss Walter Mazzarri has absolved Vidic of any wrongdoing in the Napoli encounter, saying he is ultimately to blame for unfavorable results.
Mazzarri said in a press conference: “Vidic is a player and I’m the coach. The coach is responsible for what happens on the field, regardless of the type of defence.
“Some people have blamed him for Callejon’s goal, but I’d say he made a headed interception and had the misfortune of an unfavourable rebound.
“The error was committed by those who left the attacker free, not of Vidic who was where he was meant to be.
“I say this to those who analyse matches in a superficial way and put the blame on people who aren’t at fault.”
Mazzarri is certainly doing what he’s meant to do, shielding his player from criticism at a time when Inter are underperforming and in the bottom half of the Serie A table.
The fact of the matter, however, is that Vidic has so far failed to settle in at San Siro thus far – and has arguably even been a liability for the side during his short tenure in Nerazzurro.
Having to adapt Mazzarri’s preferred three-man defence certainly hasn’t helped the veteran centre-back, but Inter will want to see dividends from his signing soon.
Vidic was initally brought on to provide leadership and experience at the back with Walter Samuel moving on last summer, bringing a calming presence to the back-line.
Yet, so far out of sorts, he’s been unable to deliver on this front, instead showing signs of his advancing years in struggling to come to grips with his new surroundings.
Inter need the former United stalwart to deliver, and fast, as securing Champions League football is a must and they’re already fallen six points behind the top three.
Six total appearances in the Italian top flight certainly aren’t nearly enough to label Vidic an ill-advised signing at San Siro as he may yet come good.
But despite protecting the veteran, no doubt Mazzarri is keen to see his form pick up – to fulfill the purpose for which the club went out of their way to sign him to a pre-contract in March.