MILAN – Walter Mazzarri was hosted in the Sky Sport 24 studios this evening to talk about the book he’s written with Alessandro Alciato, ‘Il meglio deve ancora venire’ (‘The Best is Yet to Come’, published by Rizzoli).
This is what the Nerazzurri coach had to say during his long chat with the Sky Italia journalists:
Who chose the title?
“They came up with the idea and I really liked it. The book is coming out in what is a difficult time for my team and I hope that’s a good sign for Inter and our fans.”
“Behind every role there’s always a person. Just as behind every coach there’s a man. Hernanes is a smashing lad, I’ve always known that.”
Have you ever cried?
“When I left Napoli I’d decided to explain everything to the lads but when I saw what they had written on the board and then they all applauded me I couldn’t hold myself back anymore and I had to leave.”
What sort of president is Erick Thohir?
“My impression has been good. He’s young, enthusiastic and wants to get stuck into things and work hard. And doing the job I do, it was nice to hear him say such positive things about the way my teams play.”
How do you feel about the �cry-baby� tag you’ve been given?
“The word is incredibly insulting to me. It�s a term I find really hard to swallow. Only my adversaries use it towards me, and I�ve never heard the fans of teams I�ve coached use it. Many people are superficial and see and hear only what is convenient for them, and they always happen to be the ones who aren�t cheering for your team. As far as my own fans are concerned, I�ve only every heard them say that I�ve defended the team and its colours.”
Don�t you feel cold wearing only a jacket?
“I have a base temperature of 37�C, so I almost always have a fever. It�s almost as if I were playing in the game alongside my players.”
Are there certain colleagues with whom you don�t have the best relationship?
“It comes down more to the fact that these things don�t concern me. I�m already living the game an hour and a half beforehand. It�s something I experience intensely. Now I try to be more careful with my colleagues. But there�s never been any other reason than that one.”
Do you expect anyone to get angry from reading this book?
“No, because even when writing a book, I�m careful not to go into private matters, which is how certain things must remain. The rest of it consists of a series of anecdotes, and what I wrote is really what happened. What I think is great about this book is how you can get to know what I felt in certain crucial moments.”
And at certain times you were so focused that you didn�t even notice the Champions League music.
“That�s something that tells you just how much I�m concentrating on the game in those moments. I believe Alessandro, who I met with, sees someone different than what I am when I�m in the middle of the �spectacle�.”
What is something that really bothers you?
“A great quality I believe I have is that I started to do this job in an honest way, and simply for the love of doing it. I�ve never tried my hand at anything else. I also had to take in the communications world as well, which is something very important nowadays. But I never forget that I only feel really alive when my players are following me and improving. I do all the other things, but not quite as willingly.”
What about your relationship with De Laurentiis?
“I�ve lived this coaching career very intensely. I even lived in Bogliasco when I was coaching Sampdoria. All I need is to relax a little and get a bit of fresh air. It�s not true that I�m not a city person. It�s just that I�m a bit shy, and maybe if I�m feeling tired I prefer to stay at home and prepare what I need to do for the next day. I�ve always done everything on the basis of my work, and I believe my teams� presidents have always appreciated that.”
Would you have accepted the Inter job had you known the club would be sold to the Indonesian owners?
“I made a decision, and it happened. It�s not a question I ask myself. It�s yet another difficulty and an even greater challenge.”
Jurgen Klopp has stated that he�s not working to coach the best team in the world, but rather to beat them.
“It�s the kind of discourse from those who say that every game is a final. It serves to pump up your team to always be attentive and focused to the maximum.”
Is it your dream to be a president?
“I said that before leaving the game, having had many experiences, I�d like to do that as well.”
Will you shake Antonio Conte�s hand before Juventus v Inter?
“Of course, and I�ve already done it. Shaking someone�s hand is an act of courtesy and honesty, and if there have been times in which I didn�t do it then it was only because I was so focused on the game.”
“I liked the motivation he had in coming to us. He had offers from other teams but he had it in his head to come to Inter, and I knew he liked the idea of having me as his coach because of the role he plays on the pitch.”
People say you don�t play many youngsters.
“I started out with Bologna�s Primavera team. Go and check out how many youngsters I gave a debut to at Reggina. You have to consider the fact that simply saying �youngster� is limiting, and then ask whoever is using the term this question: what kind of objectives would Mazzarri have for the standings with a team made up of only youngsters? Would he be tasked with winning the league? The parameters have to be assessed objectively, or we�re not going to understand each other. I would always coach nothing but youngsters if I could, but if you wanted me to win the Scudetto with them it�s just not possible. Take a look at the two titles Juventus have won. How many young lads did they play? Just Pogba, who only became a starter this season. The same way I did with Insigne at Napoli. It�s the same story for Cavani, who was young when he arrived. And Lavezzi? Hamsik? Would you give them the same assessment you do now? I also worked for the club�s needs.”
“He�s a young guy with quality, but he shouldn�t be burdened with the responsibility of carrying the team to victory.”
“I told him to follow the example of the players who have won everything, and to try and understand the sacrifices they made to get as far as they did.”
Were you considered the heir to Giancarlo Antognoni?
“I wasn�t cut out to be a footballer. Coaching is something I like. I believe I�m able to look after a player in every aspect, and I believe there used to be less attention paid to the players. If I had been looked after the same way I look after my own players then my career would have turned out differently.”
What will you say to president Thohir tomorrow?
“If he comes to La Pinetina then he�ll talk to the team, which is only right.”