Mazzarri: “Time to focus on Stjarnan”

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THESSALONIKI – Walter Mazzarri shared his thoughts with Inter Channel following this evening’s friendly against PAOK.

The manager began with his team’s performance at Toumba Stadium. “We were better organised defensively than we were in Frankfurt – we were a bit lax there. Tonight we stayed very alert and did better.

“The aim was also to increase the playing time of people like M’Vila and Kovacic – those who haven’t played as much – and help them start working their way up to full fitness. I must say I’m pleased in that respect.

“Then there was Osvaldo making his debut, and he only upped his workload a few days ago. I’m happy I got to see him out there today.”

The Nerazzurri coach proceeded to analyse the match from a tactical perspective: “PAOK had never played with a back three before and they tried to surprise us. They’d studied our game and wanted to make it hard for us but we’re ready for things like that. We adjusted our shape and the lads knew what they were doing out there anyway.

“PAOK were perhaps a bit sharper than us but we didn’t let them have any real chances,” Mazzarri went on, before commenting on Inter’s own lack of goalscoring opportunities: “Part of the reason for that is we got the final ball wrong when if we’d got it right we would have posed a threat.”

All attentions now turn to next Wednesday’s Europa League play-off against Stjarnan: “We need to have a good week, stay alert and focused. It’s never easy when you go away. These friendlies have proved very useful. We mustn’t underestimate our next game against the Icelanders. It’s very important we do well up there so that we can take them back to our place for the return leg without too many worries.”