Mancini: “We’ll play better when we’re more compact”

MILAN – Roberto Mancini was naturally pleased with Inter’s display against Sampdoria. Two goals scored, none conceded and lots of positives to take. But in his post-match interviews, he also made it clear there’s still lots of work to be done as he bids to mould the team into his desired shape.

He began by saying: “Credit to Samp and Sinisa first of all, because they really are doing well.”

Asked for his view of how Inter’s latest signings performed, he went on: “Shaqiri’s class and personality was clear for all to see tonight. I’m happy that he and Podolski had such a good game.

“I think we can do even better though. Once the team is more compact they’ll be able to play with even more quality.”

What needs to be done to achieve that? “First of all, we need to improve our ball circulation and play high up the pitch with confidence. We also have to improve the defensive side of our game. Once we do that better we’ll be able to push up high and risk the odd counter-attack, which is what we should have done against Empoli on Saturday.”

Federico Bonazzoli and George Puscas made late substitute appearances against Sampdoria. Questioned about their playing time, the coach said: “They may well find themselves playing more over the course of the season. If they keep on working hard – as they are at the moment – then I’m sure they’ll get other opportunities.

“Kovacic? He’s young and like all youngsters he lacks maturity but he’s got phenomenal ability. I expect a lot from him, as you do when you have great players who can and must make the difference.”