Coach Jose Mourinho has blamed Internazionale's slow start to 2009 in Saturday evening's 1-1 draw with Cagliari on the absence of key players.
Inter were without the suspended Maicon and injured Dejan Stankovic and had Zlatan Ibrahimovic to thank as his 76th minute equaliser earned the Serie A leaders a share of the spoils in a game which they were expected to win comfortably.
"Tonight we suffered from the absence of a couple of players, which disrupted the team's balance," said Mourinho.
"People say that these problems shouldn't exist for a team as large as Inter's but sometimes missing only one player can make a difference."
Meanwhile, Mourinho has warned teenage striker Mario Balotelli that immaturity is risking his place in the side.
The 19-year-old was left out of Inter's 18-man matchday squad for the Cagliari clash.
"He isn't lazy but he doesn't show the right attitude during training either," claimed the Portuguese.
"He has to change his approach and realise he is at a great club where there are many talented players and where the job of the coach is to give chances to those who deserve it."