MILAN – Walter Mazzarri is hoping for more of the same when Inter host Cagliari at the Stadio Meazza tomorrow. A week on from the Nerazzurri’s impressive showing against Fiorentina, the coach told reporters at a press conference today: "I hope my players come out of the blocks against Cagliari the same way they did in Florence."
Mazzarri went on to stress his satisfaction with the team’s upturn in performances – and results – in recent weeks: "I’m pleased with our last two results, especially the second one because we played very well. I’d like the lads to keep playing like this and improve further, striving to produce 100% in every game.
"There are 42 points up for grabs between now and the end of the season and we have to try and put as many on the board as possible so that we can climb as high as possible. We want to end this year on a high and make sure this is a positive season."
The Nerazzurri boss was asked what effect president Thohir’s presence at the club has had over the last few days. He replied: "It’s always nice when the owner’s about the place, although we’re constantly in touch anyway. In any case it’s good to have him around because it creates enthusiasm."
The journalists in the press room at the Stadio Meazza also enquired about the fitness and form of a number of the individual players. The coach explained: "Samuel gives us so much beyond his technical ability because he’s the sort of character I’d like to see in every area of the field. He always brings us something extra, bite and confidence. He’s a reassuring presence for the rest of the team.
"Hernanes has this problem that means his adductor flares up every time he plays, so perhaps it would be better to rest him and let it heal completely. We’ll have to see.
"Milito is running well, perhaps even more than he was before but he still needs to find that edge he had before he got injured. In any case he’s getting there.
"Could Alvarez step in for Hernanes? They offer us slightly different options but the good thing is that Ricky is ok now. He’s been training with the team since Tuesday.
"Icardi? I’m sure he can play for longer now. He’s training fully with the team. I spoke to him in the week about supercompensation. What is it? It’s a training principle: if a player has a certain stamina range and he can reach the maximum, then after a recovery period he’s able to take it to a higher level."
"Guarin back to his best? Possibly more than any other player. I put him back in the team as soon as the transfer window closed.
"It would have been risky to field Cambiasso against Fiorentina but he’s trained hard all week now.
"There’s no problem with Zanetti. I have a fantastic relationship with him. He’s important to us both when he’s playing and when he’s not. He helps me out with the younger players, with everyone, then I pick the team. I wanted to give him a longer run-out against Udinese because he hadn’t played much. I see him in training every day. If he’s not playing at the moment it’s because I want to keep faith with the players who are performing well in the positions he plays in.
"Ranocchia could miss out on the World Cup? I only have to look at Inter’s interests. He’s training well, although he had a bit of a problem yesterday. When his chance comes I’m sure he’ll do his best but it’s hard to leave out Samuel while he’s playing the way he is at the moment."
Finally, Mazzarri commented on tomorrow’s opponents Cagliari and the midweek uncertainty surrounding their coach Diego Lopez: "He has the backing of his players. There was a bit of upheaval during the week but they will only have rallied round him even more as a result. They’ll come here fired up but we’ll do everything we can to get the three points."