Fassone: “Mancini has injected enthusiasm”

MILAN – There was a special atmosphere at the Gazzetta dello Sport headquarters in Milan today, as Francesco Totti received the Facchetti Award – The Beauty of Football. The award is now in its ninth edition.

Also in attendance was Inter managing director Marco Fassone, who managed to find time to answer a few questions on the return of Roberto Mancini to the Nerazzurri dugout:

Roberto Mancini is back, and there is suddenly a great deal of enthusiasm around Inter.

“Well, we were expecting this kind of reaction, but probably not quite to this extent! We’ve been delighted to see the wave of affection he has received – perhaps that’s been missing lately. We’ve been lacking a bit of enthusiasm, positivity and smiling faces at Inter. So that was definitely one of our reasons for choosing Roberto.”

Perhaps that was also one of the reasons for sacking Mazzarri? He’s a good professional but had lost some support recently.

“It was one of the reasons. When it comes to taking painful decisions that affect such a hardworking, capable manager as Mazzarri, you have to take everything into account. We evaluated all the various factors that were preventing both coach and club from working at 100%. We need to be at 100% to achieve the results that the president expects in as short a space of time as possible.”

Mancini has managed Inter in many Milan derbies, but debuting in one must add an extra level of difficulty.

“The fact that in our next three matches in all competitions – two in Serie A and one in the Europa League – we face AC Milan and Roma was one of the biggest reasons behind the change. I don’t think Mancini is afraid of these types of matches; I think he relishes them. Let’s hope that gives us the extra impetus we need to start with a bang.”

In football, all coaches tend to model their squads according to the way they like to play, proposing new players where applicable. In your opinion, is the squad fine as it is or will you need to do some business in January?

“Mancini has taken great care to evaluate the squad he has at his disposal. He believes that it’s a high-level squad of great quality, otherwise he wouldn’t have taken on such a demanding challenge. We’ve not spoken about transfers yet, obviously, because he wants to run the rule over the lads and take stock after a few matches. When the time is right, myself and Piero Ausilio will sit down with him and have a chat.”

In this era of Financial Fair Play, how big an effect does changing coaches halfway through a season have?

“It undoubtedly has an effect, but this is a decision we deliberated over at length, taking into consideration the economic side of things too. I hope we can overcome any financial effect within the year, as I’m sure that Mazzarri will have found a new club by the start of next season, given how good a manager he is. This year, thanks to the savings we’ve made, we had some leeway in the budget and we decided that the best use for this was to invest in a coach like Mancini.”

Photos by Fabio Buzzani