APPIANO GENTILE – “Roma are playing well, they know what they’re doing, are organised, and can change approach rapidly. They’re good on the break, when they have space but they also close you down and press well. They have quality, intensity and are well organised. Can they win the Scudetto? I don’t know and I don’t even want to think about it, I don’t ever look at what other teams are doing. Am I surprised by how well Garcia has done in his first job in Italy? If a coach has a good squad and is able to put across his ideas, they can do well immediately, as he is doing.” This is how Walter Mazzarri introduced tomorrow night’s match against Roma at the Stadio Olimpico.
“We’ve trained fairly well this week, with a few issues as you know, but nothing too different to how it usually is. It’s been a normal week,” added the coach. “Teams like Fiorentina and Roma always try to win, to make the game their own. Roma have the best defence in the league, Garcia’s done really well to instill such balance in this side. But we’re a team that focuses a great deal on what we’re doing and I’m sure that if we do everything to the best of our ability, we can put in a really good performance against them. We could have success against Roma if we play like we did at Fiorentina. Hernanes? He’s hardworking, he pays very little attention to the pain he’s experiencing, we gave him a rest to make sure all that subsided, now he’s in the squad and we’ll see whether he can start the match. Does Icardi finally have my backing? It wasn’t a case of whether I rated him or not, it was about being in the right frame of mind, training in a certain way. I’ll see now whether he will start tomorrow, bearing in mind that he might fade in the second half. Samuel? He’s done everything.”
Mazzarri was then asked if he has any regrets as to what his team
have achieved so far: “If we look back at the matches we’ve played, it’s annoyinng because had we been a little more clinical up front and focused at the back we could have more points. Plus I hope we start to get a few decisions going our way. Could the lack of atmosphere at the Stadio Olimpico be an advantage for us? When I prepare matches I always tell the lads it’s 11 against 11.”
There followed a question on Zanetti and Cambiasso: do they still have a part to play? “Generally speaking, yes. I pick my team based on what I see, on how the team plays. Zanetti’s not played since 9 January? Energy levels change between 20 and 25, 30 and 35, you might not be as quick, and in the meantime the team has been performing well. I speak to Zanetti a lot, he’s an important figure even when he doesn’t play. If I pick the team in a certain way it’s because I believe we’re better suited that way.”
Is Walter concerned about the situation surrounding officials? “I’ve not followed what’s gone on over the course of the week, I’ve got lots to do on the pitch, so I try not to read too much of what’s being written. I don’t know what other people are up to, I know what we’re doing and saying. Anyway, if you’ve paid close attention to me, you’ll have noticed that I simply commented on slow-motion replays in a objective way at the start, then I thought it would be better to keep quiet because you can’t say anything anymore. Bergonzi was the last referee to award Inter a penalty? We’re just thinking about our performance, about playing well against Roma.”
Finally, a word on what Erick Thohir said about the pair meeting at the end of the season to discuss the club’s vision: “This is a normal situation with regards to the relationship between the owner and coach, you need to see where you are every year and talk about plans for the future.”