Mazzarri: “That’s football, mistakes are punished”

LIVORNO – "Those of you who saw the match realise it’s one of those years, it needs to be looked at in a certain way. Let’s try to take the good points out of it, the character we showed until – perhaps unconsciously – the lads thought the game was over. Livorno were given a new lease of life after their first goal and we missed two or three big chances at 2-1. That’s Italian football, your mistakes are punished." This is what Nerazzurri coach Walter Mazzarri said after the Livorno game.

"Guarin just needs to play like he knows how, mistakes like the one tonight can happen, you might say it’s an off-day, but it’s a host of off-days that have seen us throw away important points. We need to progress to assess things well come the end of the season.

"I spend a lot of time chatting to my players to get them to understand certain things, perhaps not even 24 hours would be enough, I do it morning, noon and night. There are some players who can grasp things and take on board your advice, while others are more limited in that regard, whether it’s their mindset or character, but this is something you can work on in any case. Your head is everything. It’s essential to be focused on certain things. The difference between an established star and a star in the making is all in the head.

"Why did I take off Hernanes? He wasn’t very clear-headed, we should have put the game to bed at 2-0, we got to the edge of the box and it was like we were playing PlayStation, we were trying to be too cute. He’s played a great deal of late too, so I thought it was the right move to switch Alvarez into midfield. I made a substitution thinking I’d done the right thing, Guarin also did some good work. I had considered Kovacic but perhaps he would have been better on the left.

"I don’t even think Samuel had time to realise he had a man behind him, perhaps he lost the edge and the booking he picked up just before that most likely had an impact on his decision. He might have been afraid of getting sent off but he wasn’t even able to try and make contact with the player. Guarin’s mistake? It’s like when the ball goes through the keeper’s legs, he didn’t do it on purpose. Now we need to help him, these things happen."