Inter hoped to improve from past seasons; the goalkeeper Angelo Peruzzi was replaced by a young Sébastien Frey (aged 20), while a defender - Fabio Macellari - did the same with Grigorios Georgatos who came from Greece. The burden of scoring was given to Hakan Şükür and Robbie Keane, waiting for Vieri's recovery and Ronaldo's return. Inter did not pass the Champions League preliminary round: they were defeated by Helsingborgs, losing on a 1–0 aggregate. The side then lost the Supercoppa Italiana, defeated 4–3 by Lazio. Coach Lippi lost instead his job in October, after the 2–1 defeat to Reggina in Serie A.
His place was taken by Marco Tardelli, who achieved up and down results. In the rest of season Inter suffered further blows: a 6–1 defeat to Parma and a second European flop, against Alavés in the UEFA Cup. Inter supporters flew off the handle when, during a match with Atalanta, when they threw a scooter from the stands. On following matchday, the side lost again: Milan won 6–0 in the Derby della Madonnina. Inter finished the league in fifth place with 51 points, two more than rivals Milan