ROME (AFP) - Inter Milan coach Rafael Benitez looked ever closer to the exit door on Sunday after his club president Massimo Moratti blasted the Spaniard for his post-Club World Cup outburst.
Having seen his side beat Congolese Tout Puissant Mazembe 3-0 to win the trophy, Benitez launched into a tirade against the powers that be at the Italian club.
The former Liverpool and Valencia boss accused his bosses of failing to support him in the transfer market and accused the players of taking their own decisions.
But Moratti, who had been ambiguous in his support of Benitez leading up to the Club World Cup, said his coach had erred.
Asked if Benitez's quotes had ruined the party, Moratti replied: "No, for the moment no.
"They weren't suitable for the situation but for the moment the Inter fan is happy."
And pressed on the Spaniard's future, Moratti added: "I'm not going to talk about Benitez for the moment."
However, the speculation in Italy is that Benitez's time is up and his attack on the Inter hierarchy may just have made their minds up.
What was unprecedented is that Benitez had always towed the party line before Saturday's victory and had never spoken out against his bosses.
"Now we will have a calmer period but to go forward we need total support, if we get that we can improve," said Benitez.
"By support I mean first and foremost in the transfer market. I've spoken to Moratti and he knows what about.
"I've always done my job, right from the beginning and I need to have control of the players and what they do.
"If I have this support, which you should always have and should be total, otherwise you're always blaming someone and the team doesn't improve."
And Benitez suggested that if he didn't get that support, then he would even be prepared to walk away from the club.
"I deserve respect. I've shouldered all the blows and all the responsabilities but in August the club promised me three players but no-one arrived," fumed Benitez.
"Now there are three roads: either the club starts a project and buys four players right now in January or we continue like this with the coach who is the only person to blame or otherwise the president speaks to my agent and we find a solution.
"Last year Moratti spent 80 million euros on five players, all first choice, but this year with a new coach he's spent nothing.
"I don't know why, maybe there was something projected and then it didn't happen or to balance the books or for some other reason.
"After the summer I was 100 percent disappointed with the transfer market."
Benitez also hit out at the players and suggested he did not control their training routines.
"I want to know what the players are doing. These lads have done no gym work for two years and to compensate for this athletic work they go (to the gym without my knowing), and they hide problems and injuries."
Benitez has been under fire this season after a series of poor results, exacerbated by the fact this same squad of players won the treble last season under Jose Mourinho.
They dropped to seventh in Serie A last weekend while they were away on Club World Cup duty and they also failed to win their Champions League group, although the second round draw was not unkind to them, pairing them with Bayern Munich.
|Rodgers excited by Sterling development|
|Strinic close to finalising Napoli switch|
|Torres to join Milan on permanent deal|
|Scottish Premiership Review: Celtic held to shock draw, rivals fail to capitalise|
|Wenger sings Song´s praises|
|Pochettino calls for bravery|
|West Ham could lose Allardyce - Sullivan|
|League One Preview: Saunders takes charge for Colchester clash|
|Aguirre denies any involvement in La Liga match-fixing scandal|
|Mourinho impressed by Koeman´s Southampton|
|QPR v Crystal Palace: Millen recast in familiar role|
|West Ham v Arsenal: Allardyce eyes further home comfort|
|Elusive Coppa Italia on Juventus´ wish list - Marotta|
|Jones eyes swift response|
|Millen focused on QPR clash|
|League Two Preview: Shrewsbury, Wycombe and Burton vie for year-end top spot|
|Mancini not expecting big-money signings at Inter|
|Tottenham v Manchester United: Carrick expects tough return|
|Pearson eager to see Leicester resolve|
|Newcastle United v Everton: Martinez demands clinical touch|
|Liverpool v Swansea City: Rodgers backs returning Mignolet|
|Bayern can still improve - Sammer|
|Warnock sacked by Palace|
|Aston Villa v Sunderland: No club too big to go down, says Lambert|
|Hull City v Leicester City: Pearson vows to keep going|
|Stoke City v West Brom: Hughes targets elusive back-to-back wins|
|Rodgers dismisses Balotelli exit rumours|
|Modric will not rush Madrid return|
|Dyche pleased with Vokes return|
|Southampton v Chelsea: Koeman vows to go on the offensive|
|A-League Review: Six-goal Gosford thriller, Victory leave it late|
|Manchester City v Burnley: Pellegrini warns against complacency|
|Dortmund can fight on two fronts - Watzke|
|Sterling hails improved Liverpool belief|
|Rosicky eager to build on QPR winner|
|Wenger: ´We made it hard for ourselves´|
|Kane: Spurs eye top four|
|Di Maria in doubt for Spurs clash|
|Ba left out of Senegal AFCON squad|
|Redknapp frustrated by penalty call|
|Wenger sees Giroud wrongs|
|Premier League schedule a ´disgrace´, says Poyet|
|Championship Review: Bournemouth stay top, Heskey scores on Bolton debut|
|Hughes lauds Bojan performance|
|Koeman: Saints marching on|
|Pardew rues referee error|
|Arsenal 2 QPR 1: Sublime Alexis secures the spoils|
|Martinez questions Walters decision|
|Poyet laments Sunderland mistakes|
|League One Review: Swindon cruise to win over Walsall|
|Irvine aware of need for improvement|
|United still doing ´very bad things´ - Van Gaal|
|Lambert proud of players despite Swansea defeat|
|Warnock bemoans Palace defence|
|Bruce hails Hull´s spirit|
|Pochettino relieved to come away with victory|
|Dyche: We had our pocket pinched|
|Monk hails Fabianski performance|
|Pearson demands greater concentration from Leicester|
|Kompany set for City return|
|Rodgers hails character after battling win|
|League Two Review: Ainsworth frustrated by Luton, Shrewsbury go top|
|Everton 0 Stoke City 1: Lacklustre Everton slip to defeat|
|Sunderland 1 Hull City 3: Triumphant return for Bruce|
|Burnley 0 Liverpool 1: Sterling wins it at Turf Moor|
|Leicester City 1 Tottenham 2: Eriksen piles misery on Pearson´s men|
|Manchester United 3 Newcastle United 1: Rooney extends hosts´ streak|
|West Brom 1 Manchester City 3: Three and easy for in-form champions|
|Swansea City 1 Aston Villa 0: Hosts break Boxing Day duck|
|Crystal Palace 1 Southampton 3: Mane marks return with star performance|
|Allardyce upbeat despite defeat|
|Van Dijk happy at Celtic - Deila|
|Table-topping Chelsea delight Mourinho|
|Chelsea 2 West Ham 0: Mourinho´s men ease to victory|
|Suarez enjoying Messi, Neymar link-up|
|A-League Review: Garcia rescues point for Perth, Adelaide up to second|
|Poyet calls for mid-season break|
|Van Gaal rules out Januzaj move|
|Rodgers: Balotelli may have to get used to bench|
|Lallana: I was trying too hard|
|Walker juggles music, football careers in Sweden|
|Song to face ´brother from another mother´ Fabregas|
|Adriano announces Le Havre deal|
|Pardew braced for Old Trafford test|
|Lescott unfazed by City reunion|
|Tskhadadze appointed Georgia coach|
|United to finish top three - Ferdinand|
|Allardyce: Stamford Bridge stalemate saved my job|