APPIANO GENTILE – Walter Mazzarri opened his news conference this evening by reflecting on the Nerazzurri’s recent performances. "I’m pretty happy with the way we’ve played in the last few games. We got back on track with that display we turned in at Roma.
"If we want to grow as a team and develop the mentality we’re trying to create here, which is a side that plays well and wins game after game, then the players deserve to keep their place when we perform well. And that’s what we want to do: win by playing well. So far those who have gone out there have responded well, so that should be an incentive for everyone and keep them all on their toes."
Mazzarri was asked about his team’s chances of finishing fourth or fifth in the league. He replied: "When a coach is focused on his job, he plays little attention to things like that. You weigh everything up at the end. That’s when I’ll be able to speak about it more directly. For now we just need to make sure these lads keep firing on all cylinders."
What about the players with expiring contracts? "The squad will be assessed at the end of the season based on how they well they’ve done. If I’m the coach then I’ll still be in charge of team matters so I’ll tell the club what I think. Last summer there were talks going on and I knew about them, but a coach only has so much influence in Italy, where we have sporting directors and much of it is down to him. The possibility of signing a new contract can be an added incentive for players."
On the subject of new renewals, Palacio has just signed his, and Mazzarri had nothing but praise for the club’s current top scorer: "Rodrigo is having a superb season, with the goals he’s getting and the work he’s putting in the for team. Just look at how many miles he clocks up in matches. And that’s fundamental in the modern game: forwards have to do exactly what he’s doing, think first of all about running his socks off for the team and then about scoring. It pays off in the long run."
Fiorentina, who currently sit just one place and one point ahead of
Inter in fourth, are locked in an all-Italian Europa League tussle with
Juventus. Would it be better for Inter if Fiorentina went through? "I’ve
never looked at what our rivals are up to, just on taking my own side
as high as possible. We can’t what the others do. There are plenty os
points still to play for. All we can do is try and getting as many on
the board as possible by playing the best football possible."
The Nerazzurri coach also gave his thoughts on tomorrow’s opponents Verona: "I have great respect for Mandorlini’s side. They’ve probably dropped a few points despite playing well, but they deserve plaudits for what they’ve done this season. It was always going to be hard for them to keep racking up points at the same rate they were at the start of the year. But they’re a dangerous outfit and they’re still playing good football. I don’t think Jorginho leaving has made that much of a difference."
Mazzarri then spoke his own contract? "That might be something we discuss in June, but the club and I have agreed to look at things like that once we have a clearer view of the whole picture."
On Hernanes’ injury niggles: "He’s had a few problems and he’s not at his best yet, but he’s obviously an important player. He inspires those around him with his character and his ability. The whole team has benefited from his arrival."