Inter have been slipping into something close to an out-and-out crisis in defense over the past weeks, and there appear to be a number of factors to blame.

This is highlighted in today’s print edition of Milan-based newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, who blame the performances of aging duo Samir Handanovic and Stefan de Vrij, the sloppy form of Alessandro Bastoni, and the loss of Ivan Perisic’s influence for the Nerazzurri’s porous defensive form.

Handanovic and de Vrij have both undeniably performed very well for the Nerazzurri in the past, but neither of the pair have shown their best this season, as they have looked slow to react to danger at various points, perhaps a reflection of a bit of fatigue and a drop-off in form.

In Bastoni’s case, age can hardly be blamed for the decline that the 23-year-old has shown this season, but the former Parma and Atalanta defender has also undeniably looked sloppy and slow to react to danger in recent appearances, particularly the 3-2 derby loss to AC Milan.

For the Gazzetta, the departure of Perisic could play a key role in all of this, as the Croat’s energy and workrate in helping out the backline on the left side of the pitch had been key to the team’s defensive shape for much of last season, and they’ve yet to figure out how to replicate his influence.